UAEM - Licensing and patenting practices of COVID-19 technologies

Sarai Keestra made this Freedom of Information request to Newcastle University

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Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Newcastle University should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Newcastle University,

For the purpose of clarity, please adhere to the following definitions when answering these questions:

Low and middle income country: A country that is defined as ‘low’, ‘lower-middle’ and ‘upper-middle’ income by the World Bank for the year 2018. Income status defined by GNI per capita.
Source: World bank, available online [https://tinyurl.com/y5dwc2qv]

A patent grants an inventor the exclusive rights to his or her invention. A patent holder can stop other people from selling, manufacturing, producing, or using the invention for a certain period of time.
Source: Upcouncil, available online [https://www.upcounsel.com/what-is-a-pate...

Licence: Permission for the licensee to use the intellectual property rights
Source: TaylorWessing, available online [https://www.taylorwessing.com/download/a...

Exclusive Licence: A licence that allows only the named licensee to exploit the relevant IP rights, the licensor is also excluded from exploiting these IP rights.
Non-Exclusive Licence: A licence that grants any number of licensees to exploit the IP.
Source: TaylorWessing, available online [https://www.taylorwessing.com/synapse/co...

Health Technology: ‘Health technology as defined by the WHO: “A health technology is the application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of lives.’
Source: WHO, available online [https://www.who.int/health-technology-as...

START FOI request:
Q1. Can you release your internal strategy regarding licensing and patenting of COVID-19 related health technologies?

Q2. Does the institution have a formal policy on licensing and patenting of COVID-19 related technologies? If yes, please provide a link or PDF to the relevant policy document.

Q3. Has the university considered updating their strategy regarding the licensing and patenting of health technologies since the start of the pandemic?

Q4. Please provide an Excel spreadsheet with headings as displayed below with all the COVID-19 related health technologies LICENSED by the university AND specify which countries they were licensed in AND specify whether they are exclusive or non-exclusive licenses.
Health Technology Licensed | Country of Licensing | Type of License (Exclusive or Non-Exclusive)

Q5. Please provide a list of patents granted to your organization for any COVID-19 related health technologies listed by patent family, indicating countries/regions in which the patent has been granted.

Q6. Does the institution have any plans on signing up to the Open-COVID pledge (https://opencovidpledge.org/) or any similar initiative that seeks to minimise intellectual property rights barriers during the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, please specify.

Q7. Is the institution considering the licensing of COVID-19 related health technologies to the Covid Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) or the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) during the pandemic? If yes, please specify.

END FOI request.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me by email.

Yours faithfully,

Sarai Keestra

To assist with records management, please do not alter the subject line of
this email.

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We will forward your FOI request to the relevant Newcastle University
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Yours sincerely,

Information Governance Team
Executive Office
Newcastle University
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 7RU

Good morning Sarai,

Thank you for your request for information dated 24/10/2020, please accept our sincere apologies for the delay in responding to your request.

Please see below for our response to your request:

As a university we strive to develop and make available all technologies for the betterment of society as a whole. As such our response to the recent pandemic can be found here: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/who-we-are/coronav...

For the other questions we are unable to fulfil these as we do not store any categorisations such as "Health Technologies" or "Covid-19" against our IP. Covid-19 may be mentioned in some project titles but this would not form any absolute definition of our Covid-19 related work. In addition to this we are currently validating our IP data for 2019/2020 (1st August 2019 to 31st July 2020) for submission to a statutory return. We would therefore not be a position to release any IP related information covering the pandemic at this time.

I hope that this is of use. If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request you can ask for an internal review. Details of how to do this can be found at: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/foi/access/complain...

If you are not happy with the outcome of the internal review, you then have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner's Office for a decision. Details of how to do this can be found at: http://ico.org.uk/concerns

Kind regards,

Information Governance Team
Newcastle University
NE1 8HQ

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Dear nrecman,

Thank you for your response and the attached information. I would like some clarifications on your response if possible.

i. Based on your response I understand that you currently have NO internal strategy regarding licensing and patenting of COVID-19 related health technologies and NO formal policy on licensing and patenting of COVID-19 related technologies?

ii. I understand from your response that the university has no COVID-19 relevant IP to disclose?

iii. Finally, can you clarify what Newcastle University's response is to Q6 and 7.

Q6. Does the institution have any plans on signing up to the Open-COVID pledge (https://opencovidpledge.org/) or any similar initiative that seeks to minimise intellectual property rights barriers during the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, please specify.

Q7. Is the institution considering the licensing of COVID-19 related health technologies to the Covid Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) or the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) during the pandemic? If yes, please specify.

Yours sincerely,

Sarai Keestra

To assist with records management, please do not alter the subject line of
this email.

Please accept this email as confirmation of receipt of your FOI request.
We will forward your FOI request to the relevant Newcastle University
department for processing.

Yours sincerely,

Information Governance Team
Executive Office
Newcastle University
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 7RU