Vaccines, Intellectual Property, and Global Equity (Thu June 10)

Eric Hintz's picture
June 10, 2021
District Of Columbia, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Business History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Law and Legal History, Public Health


On Thursday June 10, join the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and George Mason University’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property as we explore the legal and policy debate regarding patents on vaccines.


The roll out of effective COVID-19 vaccines is happening at a historically unprecedented pace. Manufacturing and delivering vaccines to some 7.8 billion people worldwide, however, has reignited tensions about the role of intellectual property in medicine. How do patent protections facilitate vaccine research and development? What is protected by vaccine patents? How might US and EU patents complicate international vaccine distribution? Should those IP protections be waived to facilitate vaccine distribution to poorer nations?


The program will begin with a brief overview of vaccine history and a virtual tour of relevant objects from the Smithsonian’s collections. Then our panelists will engage in a discussion concerning the ethical, commercial, and global health implications of vaccine patents, followed by audience Q&A.



Date: Thursday, June 10, 2021

Time: 1:00-2:30 pm EDT

Free Registration:

For more information:



Arthur Daemmrich – Director, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History



Dan Laster – Director, Washington State COVID-19 Vaccine Action Command and Coordination System (VACCS) Center

Arti K. Rai – Elvin R. Latty Professor of Law and co-Director, Duke Law Center for Innovation Policy

Eric Aaronson – Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel, Intellectual Property, Pfizer Inc.



Sean O’Connor - Executive Director & Senior Scholar, Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University


Accessibility: CPIP and the National Museum of American History welcome visitors of all ages and abilities. CART captioning will be available for this program. Additional accommodations are available upon request; please email


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