WASHINGTON—In celebration of World Intellectual Property Day, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading U.S. science- and tech-policy think tank, today joined with the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School to announce the launch of “Innovate4Health,” a joint project to promote the critical role that intellectual property rights play in spurring innovative solutions to pressing global health challenges.
“Intellectual property rights are key to incentivizing the kind of innovation that is necessary to address global health problems,” said the two groups in their inaugural blog post. “When people are in need, it is all too easy to grow impatient with the rights of innovators though. We hope this initiative will help policymakers and the public better understand that innovators aren’t an obstacle to better health outcomes, but instead are an essential part of the solution.”
The Innovate4Health project will feature case studies on how IP-driven innovation is tackling some of the world’s toughest health challenges, including:
- A cooler that ensures vaccines are safe in areas without power;
- A portable eye examination kit to move care out of the office and into the field;
- Retractable syringes to prevent needlestick injuries;
- A baby warmer that can adapt to volatile electricity conditions;
- Data-driven software that can automatically scan chest x-rays for tuberculosis; and
- A new anti-inflammatory drug derived from Brazil’s diverse ecology.
“Strong intellectual property protections undergird the foundation upon which the global innovation system is built,” said Stephen J. Ezell, ITIF’s vice president for global innovation policy. “Without robust protections ensuring that the time and money invested into innovating new health solutions will yield benefits, the incentive to innovate will be diminished. IP protections ensure that the virtuous cycle of innovation—where profits derived from one generation of innovations provide the R&D funding to finance the next—will continue unfettered to develop new treatments, cures, vaccines, and more.”
“Innovation is our best solution to big global health challenges,” said Mark Schultz, CPIP’s director of academic programs and senior scholar. “Innovation, and the IP system that secures it, has helped mankind realize unprecedented health, comfort, and safety. Today, innovators are saving lives in every corner of the globe. This project shines a well-deserved spotlight on the heroes fighting global health challenges—both the innovators and the health care workers who are beating some of mankind’s oldest and deadliest enemies.”