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The Wall Street Journal: Moderna hints it may enforce COVID vaccine patents in wealthy countries

Moderna Inc. said it will never use its COVID-19 vaccine-related patents to stop others from manufacturing its vaccine in more than 90 low- and middle-income countries, but signaled it was prepared to begin enforcing patents in wealthier countries.

The drug maker said Monday it now expects anyone in higher-income countries that want to use its patented technologies to respect the company’s intellectual property. It also said it is willing to license its patents to others in those countries on “commercially reasonable terms.”

Such terms usually involve royalties on the sales of products using the licensed technology.

The new stance opens up the possibility of Moderna
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filing patent-infringement suits against companies in wealthier countries that don’t reach agreements on using Moderna’s technology, though it didn’t say when it might begin seeking to enforce its patents.

“If people have used, or are using our technology to make a vaccine, I don’t understand why, once we’re in an endemic setting when there’s plenty of vaccine and there’s no issue to supply vaccines, why we should not get rewarded for the things we invented,” Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel said in an interview.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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