Business

Keidanren will ask members to waive patents to battle virus

JIJI

Keidanren will ask its member companies to waive patents that might be helpful in developing technologies to fight the coronavirus, it was learned Friday.

Toyota Motor Corp., Canon Inc. and other companies organizing the campaign will seek participation from a wide range of businesses to expedite the development of diagnostic and treatment technologies, informed sources said.

Keidanren, the nation's biggest business lobby, is expected to ask over 1,400 of its members in writing on Thursday to cooperate with the initiative, the sources said. The lobby is also called The Japan Business Federation.

Members will be asked to allow the free use of patents useful for developing related technologies until the World Health Organization declares the coronavirus pandemic over, according to the sources.

One patent expected to be targeted is related to technologies that can prevent in-hospital infections by using differences in air pressure. Another can be used toward developing devices to detect the virus.

With no effective medicine or treatment for the coronavirus established yet, there is an urgent need globally for technologies to stem its spread.

But developing new products is time-consuming because it also requires research on potential patent violations and negotiations on royalty payments.

Besides Toyota and Canon, some 20 companies including Nissan Motor Co., Honda Motor Co., Nikon Corp. and Konica Minolta Inc. have indicated they intend to waive certain patents, the sources said.

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