Moderna and NIH shake hands in Patent dispute

There is an update on the ongoing patent dispute between Moderna and the US National Institute of Health (NIH) over the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. As per the reports, Moderna has finally dropped its patent application. The act was done in an attempt to reach an agreement with the NIH.

Moderna Inc. deliberately delayed its efforts of obtaining a patent on its Covid vaccine earlier due to the dispute with the U.S. Government over names of scientists to be listed as inventors. This delayed act of Moderna gave it more time in hand to negotiate over the issue and now after uncountable discussions, Moderna dropped its patent application in which it was listing only the company’s own scientists excluding those from the NIH’s Vaccine Research Center as inventors. This act of listing by Moderna was also objected to by the NIH.

However, Moderna made acknowledgment of the fact of NIH being its collaborators. But Moderna did not miss a chance to mention in its July filing with the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that it had entered into a good-faith determination that scientists of NIH did not co-invent the mRNAs and mRNA compositions that have been claimed in its patent application. That July application was abandoned as the company failed to pay the fee for issuance of approval from the Patent Office before the deadline i.e., November 29, 2021. Thus, the same was labeled as abandoned in December. 

Moderna then filed a new related patent application that gave it time to negotiate with the NIH. The same was also highly appreciated by NIH. “We welcome the opportunity to work with the company to resolve pending intellectual property issues in a way that recognizes the profoundly important contributions of NIH scientists as co-inventors,” stated NIH at that time. “NIH values its collaborations with Moderna, which have led to the development of a life-saving vaccine,” the agency said in a statement on the recent update.