Great interview by Gene Quinn with Erik Iverson, Associate General Counsel with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A summary article is on BIOtech Now and the full interview can be found on IPWatchdog.com.
Iverson told me in no uncertain terms, “[A] fundamental premise at the foundation is that we absolutely respect intellectual property rights. We recognize their importance and we certainly recognize the importance of companies and their involvement in developing products and having them commercialized both in developed and developing countries.” But how can the Gates Foundation balance the intellectual property rights of those who create live saving technologies and treatments while at the same time ensuring the humanitarian mission?
According to Iverson, this requires a different approach to each situation taking into consideration the unique factual circumstances involved, such as the disease at issue, the marketability that may exist in developed countries and the need to incentivize the desired outcome. Iverson explained, “[T]he life science community is all about helping people and saving lives… [we are] trying to figure out how to balance them to push the development of products that well, very few people historically have put much effort into…”