CEIPI Ideathon on Access to Anti-Covid Vaccine: Enhancing the Cooperation

Mediseed team presenting their solution at the CEIPI SEED Ideathon
(Photo: CEIPI)

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. It has shown not only the vulnerability of the world to diseases but also the urgent need to cooperate on the global level and to reach multilateral solutions on equitable access to vaccines and medical treatments for all.

COVID-19 and the role of IP and know-how

IP and know-how have played an enabling and facilitating role in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, as they are the foundation for trust-based collaborations among creators and innovation stakeholders: governments, business, academia and funding institutions. Prompt pandemic response was based on an interplay primarily between patents, know-how and trade secrets.

COVID-19 was an example of pressing challenges that emerge in times of health crises. At the same time, it created opportunities for solutions that can be implemented further in the future and will facilitate expeditious and collaborative response to pandemics and other global emergencies.

The CEIPI Ideathon on IP and equitable access to vaccines

On April 25-26, 2022, the Center for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI, Strasbourg) organized the SEED Ideathon on “Access to Anti-Covid Vaccines.” The project consisted of a race of reflexion around equitable access to the vaccine. The compulsory licensing mechanism was excluded from the possible solution, so the participants had to analyze the case through the lens of law, economics and science.

WIPO supported this initiative and took an active part in the competition as a member of jury as well as offered a special reward to the winning team. The Ideathon coincided with the World IP Day, highlighting the role of creative young people and the importance of using IP system to realize their innovative ideas.

Team brainstorming during CEIPI SEED Ideathon
(Photo: CEIPI)

The teams presented innovative proposals such as creating an international compensation fund to address legal liability concerns, creating an audit panel of experts from WTO, WHO and WIPO in order to study and assess the existing logistic methods and the means for better public awareness about vaccines, etc.

The solution proposed by the winning team, entitled MediSeed, consisted in finding a balance between the different actors (pharmaceutical industries, governments and potential users in particular in developing countries and LDCs) by creating two funds: an Investment Fund and an Insurance Fund. The team described in detail the purpose of creating Funds, mechanisms of their use, and ultimate goals to provide better access to vaccines and treatments in case of pandemic.

“The Ideathon is of great importance in terms of both citizenship commitment and knowledge sharing. Having the opportunity to take part in the public debate and to reflect about concrete issues in front of professionals is extremely meaningful to us. We are thankful to WIPO’s involvement in this initiative. Presenting a project to a world organization is a rewarding experience, and getting a mentoring support will be incredibly valuable to keep working on these problems,” – said the winning team.

WIPO is currently considering the most appropriate way to support young inventors in enhancing their capacity for IP based entrepreneurship and ability to implement their project.

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