On 17 June 2022, the World Trade Organization's 12th Ministerial Conference adopted a decision on a waiver of certain procedural obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which was primarily based on EU proposals. It was agreed to temporarily remove IP barriers around patents for covid-19 vaccines and postpone the discussions on extending the waiver to treatments and tests by six months.

On the same day, the European Union welcomed the waiver. According to Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice president of the European Commission's Economy that Works for People group, it will allow for the swift manufacture and export of covid-19 vaccines without the consent of the patent owner, while maintaining a functioning IP framework.

The decision was, however, criticised by many, who believe it is unlikely to make a significant difference in global access to covid-19 vaccines since the final decision is too narrow in comparison to the original proposal.(1)

For further information on this topic please contact Malte Scheel or Tobias Maier at Eversheds Sutherland LLP by telephone (+49 89 54565 0) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The Eversheds Sutherland LLP website can be accessed at www.eversheds-sutherland.com.


(1) See "Covid-19: WTO ministerial decision on TRIPS Agreement fails to set rules that could save lives".