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Germany: Act on the Protection of the Population in the Event of an Epidemic Situation of National Importance

March 27, 2020

Germany: The Act on the Protection of the Population in the Event of an Epidemic Situation of National Importance (hereinafter "the Act") was adopted on March 27, 2020, and entered into force on different dates. The Act introduced amendments to different provisions of the Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases in Humans (also called "Infection Protection Act").

Article 1, paragraph 4 of the Act, inter alia, introduced amendments to subsection 5 under paragraph (2) of section 5, Chapter II of the Infection Protect Act, which entered into force on March 28, 2020. Subsection 5 confers upon the Federal Ministry of Health additional powers to control the epidemic situation, including the competence to order limitations on patents, which reads:

5. to order under s. 13(1) of the Patent Act that an invention relating to one of the products mentioned in No. 4 [narcotics, medical devices, laboratory diagnostics, aids, personal protective equipment and products for disinfection…] shall be used in the interest of public welfare or in the interest of the security of the Federal Republic of Germany; the Federal Ministry of Health may instruct a subordinate authority to make such an order;….

Subsection 5 under section 5 of the Infection Protection Act will expire on April 1, 2021, pursuant to Article 3 and Article 7(4) of the Act.