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Compulsory Licensing

Topics Covered: IP Related issues.

Compulsory Licensing:


Russia is planning to fly special planes with a wide range of COVID-related assistance including oxygen generators and concentrators as well as drugs needed for the treatment of the coronavirus that is ravaging many parts of India.

  • However, Russia may have to hold off sending the drug Remdesivir owing to U.S. patent violations.

What’s the issue?

Exports of Remdesivir have run into trouble with U.S. licensing laws invoked by Remdesivir developer, California-based Gilead Sciences Inc.

  • Remdesivir, that was cleared for COVID-19 treatment by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2020, is being made in Russia after the government in Moscow decided to defy the international patent held by Gilead, and issued an ordinance allowing Russian company Pharmasyntez to manufacture the drug under a “compulsory licence”.

What is compulsory Licensing?

  • Compulsory License is a licence issued/authorised by the government that allows the company or an individual seeking other’s intellectual property to use it (making, using and selling a patented product or employing a patented process) without having to seek the consent of the owner/the right holder, by paying a predetermined fee for the license.
  • Indian Patents Act 1970 and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights deal with compulsory licensing.
  • The application for a compulsory license can be made any time after 3 years from the date of sealing of a patent.


Prelims Link:

  1. What is compulsory Licensing?
  2. Provisions in India in this regard.
  3. Licensing issuing authority.
  4. Eligibility.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for compulsory Licensing.

Sources: the Hindu.