USPTO Launches "IP Marketplace" Related to COVID-19

May 5, 2020 – Article

The USPTO created a web-based platform (https://developer.uspto.gov/ipmarketplace/search/patents) that identifies patents that may be useful in the creation of technologies to combat the coronavirus/COVID-19 disease. The website lists various patents and patent publications, seven pages with about 24 per page, that include links to the patents or publications, Issue/Publication dates and other bibliographic information. There is also a column indicating if Licensing is available for the patents/patent applications listed. The patents and applications listed have been apparently asked by the patentee/patent applicant to be included (from the tab “About the Platform):

If you want to make your inventions available for licensing, the IP Marketplace Platform provides a centralized and easily accessible place to list U.S. patents and patent application publications. It offers to potential licensees a database of available technologies that permits searches using a variety of parameters.

The IP Marketplace Platform provides a voluntary listing of patents and patent application publications indicated as “available for licensing” on external public websites or in the USPTO Official Gazette Notices. It also offers a link to sources that include the licensing information. If a technology’s availability is listed as “unknown,” that means we currently do not know its licensing status.

In view of the current public health situation, the initial release of the IP Marketplace Platform focuses on listing technologies related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19, including, for example, personal protective equipment, disinfectants, ventilators, testing equipment and components thereof.

This is an interesting idea but the very first patent application listed is US PG PUB 20200100479 related to a recombinant adenovirus purportedly useful for Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) in swine. Thus, it is not immediately apparent how this patent application pertains to COVID-19 treatment (no mention of coronavirus in the application) but presumptively the view of the applicant is that such a recombinant construct could be useful for other viral infections. There appears to be many similar patents and applications listed, i.e., not specifically directed to COVID-19 or coronavirus but conceptually useful for those specific purposes. Of course, there are patents/applications listed directly related to coronavirus (see U.S. patent 9,975,885 entitled “Broad-spectrum non-covalent coronavirus protease inhibitors”).

Time will tell as to the utility of this platform and the USPTO extending to other technology initiatives.