Unpacking the Proposed TRIPS Waiver Expansion: A Conversation with Gary Locke

December 1, 2022 1:00 pm

The clock is ticking on the TRIPS waiver expansion. By December 17, the World Trade Organization TRIPS Council will discuss a possible extension of the current intellectual property waiver on Covid-19 vaccines to therapeutics and diagnostics.

As the governments of Mexico and Switzerland noted in a recent communication to the WTO, we simply do not face a supply and demand landscape in which such an extension is necessary. There are no grounds to nullify IP protections for therapeutics and diagnostics when there are no shortages induced by those protections.

A waiver extension would, however, harm U.S. businesses and workers in every sector — from software and technology to agriculture and life sciences — by upending the IP protections that underpin breakthrough discoveries. And, by extension, a waiver extension would surrender America’s economic advantage to strategic competitors.

On December 1st at 1:00 PM ET, Ambassador Gary Locke joined C4IP co-chair and former USPTO Director David Kappos in conversation to discuss the economic and geopolitical implications of expanding the TRIPS waiver. As the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Ambassador to China under President Obama, Locke provided valuable insight into the disruptions this decision will engender for U.S. jobs, economic growth, and global competitiveness.

C4IP co-chair and former USPTO Director Andrei Iancu provided opening remarks and moderated the virtual discussion.

Read the full transcript of the webinar here.



Andrei Iancu (Moderator)

Andrei is a partner at Irell & Manella in Los Angeles. From 2018 to 2021, he served as the Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a position to which he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. As head of the USPTO, Andrei oversaw one of the largest IP offices in the world. He also served as the administration’s principal advisor on domestic and international policy matters. Andrei co-founded the Renewing American Innovation Project at the bipartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

David Kappos

David is a partner at Cravath, Swaine, & Moore and Co-Chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property practice. He is widely recognized as a leader in the field of intellectual property, including IP management and strategy, the development of global IP norms, laws and practices as well as commercialization and enforcement of innovation-based assets. From 2009 to 2013, David served as Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In that role, he advised the President, the Secretary of Commerce and the Administration on IP policy matters. Prior to leading the USPTO, David served as the chief IP lawyer at IBM, the world’s largest patent holder.

Governor Gary Locke

As Governor of Washington State, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke has been a leader in the areas of education, employment, trade, health care, human rights, immigration reform, privacy, and the environment. Currently, Gary Locke serves as the interim president of Bellevue College, the third-largest higher education institution in Washington State.

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