House Republicans take issue with DOJ’s handling of Moderna’s Covid vaccine patents

Reps. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) and Ben Cline (R-VA) sent a letter last week to Attorney General Merrick Garland, asking why the Department of Justice is willing to incur potential patent infringement liability in a lawsuit related to Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine.

Thanks to a 2020 contract between the US and Moderna, the federal government could be on the hook for billions of dollars, the Republicans note.

“The department’s decision to intervene in patent litigation between private parties and waive sovereign immunity by advancing application of Section 1498 is unprecedented to our knowledge,” they wrote.

Arti Rai, co-director of Duke Law’s Center for Innovation Policy, told Endpoints News that the use of Section 1498 happens on occasion, but it has not explicitly been used with respect to biopharmaceuticals since the 1960s.

The letter follows a pretrial hearing last week in a Philadelphia-based US district court that seemed to favor…
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