A New Twist in the COVID-19 Vaccine Patent War

A New Twist in the COVID-19 Vaccine Patent War

In the midst of a contentious patent battle among COVID-19 vaccine giants, a recent ruling by the European Patent Office (EPO) has dealt a blow to Moderna. The EPO invalidated one of Moderna’s patents, which protects “respiratory virus vaccines.” This development marks a victory for Pfizer’s Comirnaty partner, BioNTech, as both companies have been opposing Moderna’s patent.

BioNTech has expressed support for the EPO’s decision, stating that none of Moderna’s amended claims were deemed satisfactory to maintain the patent in an altered form. According to a spokesperson, BioNTech believes that Moderna’s patents have not met the requirements for grant and should never have been issued.

On the other hand, Moderna disagrees with the EPO’s ruling and intends to appeal the decision. The company remains confident in the strength and validity of the patent in question, known as the ‘565 Patent.

The patent dispute between Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer has extended across multiple countries. Moderna initiated litigation against its rivals in the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Belgium. The objective of these lawsuits is not to remove Pfizer and BioNTech’s Comirnaty from the market but to seek compensation and damages for alleged patent infringement.

Moderna claims that Pfizer and BioNTech have copied significant features of its patented technologies. However, Pfizer and BioNTech argue that Moderna is attempting to rewrite the narrative surrounding COVID-19 by claiming credit for other companies’ work while relying on overly broad patents.

This ongoing patent war highlights the high stakes and intense competition within the COVID-19 vaccine industry. As the litigation continues, further twists and turns are likely to shape the landscape of vaccine intellectual property.


1. What does the European Patent Office’s ruling mean for Moderna?

The ruling by the European Patent Office invalidates one of Moderna’s patents related to respiratory virus vaccines. This decision is a setback for Moderna, as it weakens the company’s patent position and potentially affects its ability to enforce intellectual property rights.

2. Why is BioNTech welcoming the EPO’s decision?

BioNTech, the partner of Pfizer’s Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine, supports the EPO’s ruling because it aligns with their belief that Moderna’s patents should never have been granted in the first place. The decision strengthens BioNTech’s position and bolsters their argument against Moderna’s patent claims.

3. What is Moderna seeking through its litigation against Pfizer and BioNTech?

Moderna’s litigation against Pfizer and BioNTech is not aimed at removing the Comirnaty vaccine from the market. Instead, the company seeks compensation and damages for alleged infringement of its patents. Moderna believes that Pfizer and BioNTech have copied its patented technologies and seeks recognition and financial recompense for their contributions to COVID-19 vaccine development.

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