Moderna sues Pfizer over COVID-19 vaccine patent

28 August, 2022

Moderna sues Pfizer over COVID-19 vaccine patent (Paige Twenter)

Moderna filed a lawsuit Aug. 26 accusing Pfizer-BioNTech of using Moderna's patented mRNA technology for COVID-19 vaccines, according to court documents. 

In the lawsuit filed in Massachusetts, Moderna claims it was founded to develop mRNA technology and filed patents for it between 2011 and 2016, which Pfizer then copied [...] without ever requesting a license.

The pharmaceutical company said in October 2020 that "while the pandemic continues, Moderna will not enforce our COVID-19 related patents against thosemaking vaccines intended to combat the pandemic," according to the lawsuit.

Now that the pandemic is shifting to endemic status as COVID-19 case counts continue to fall, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement the company wants to protect the intellectual property it "pioneered, invested billions of dollars in creating and patented during the decade preceding the COVID-19 pandemic."

Moderna said it isn't asking for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to be removed from the market nor is it seeking damages from Pfizer's vaccine sales. The vaccine maker asked the court to award Moderna monetary damages for the alleged patent infringements. 

"Pfizer/BioNTechhas not yet fully reviewed the complaint, but we are surprised by the litigation given the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was based on BioNTech's proprietary mRNA technology and developed by both BioNTech and Pfizer," Pfizer told Becker's. "We remain confident in our intellectual property supporting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and will vigorously defend against the allegations of the lawsuit."

Prof Joseph Ana

Lead Senior Fellow/medical consultant

Center for Clinical Governance Research & Patient Safety (ACCGR&PS)

P: +234 (0) 8063600642


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Calabar, Nigeria.

HIFA profile: Joseph Ana is the Lead Consultant and Trainer at the Africa Centre for Clinical Governance Research and Patient Safety in Calabar, Nigeria. In 2015 he won the NMA Award of Excellence for establishing 12-Pillar Clinical Governance, Quality and Safety initiative in Nigeria. He has been the pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) National Committee on Clinical Governance and Research since 2012. He is also Chairman of the Quality & Performance subcommittee of the Technical Working Group for the implementation of the Nigeria Health Act. He is a pioneer Trustee-Director of the NMF (Nigerian Medical Forum) which took the BMJ to West Africa in 1995. He is particularly interested in strengthening health systems for quality and safety in LMICs. He has written Five books on the 12-Pillar Clinical Governance for LMICs, including a TOOLS for Implementation. He established the Department of Clinical Governance, Servicom & e-health in the Cross River State Ministry of Health, Nigeria in 2007. Website: Joseph is a member of the HIFA Steering Group:

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