Amazon, Facebook, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Microsoft, and Sandia National Laboratories join “Open COVID Pledge” to make patents freely available in the fight against COVID-19

Tech innovators commit to making their full collections of patents available to the public, free of charge, for use in ending and minimizing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

April 20, 2020 at 4pm EDT

Amazon, Facebook, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), IBM, Microsoft, and Sandia National Laboratories announced today that they are joining the Open COVID Pledge by making all of their patents freely available to the public for use in the fight against COVID-19. Together, the group holds hundreds of thousands of patents and is offering to grant a temporary license that enables the public to utilize any of the pledgors’ patents in the research, development, and deployment of medical equipment, network products, software solutions, and other technologies to assist in this urgent public health crisis.

The Open COVID Pledge, launched by an international coalition of legal experts, scientists, and technologists, is an effort that encourages companies, universities, and researchers to make their intellectual property available free of charge for use in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and minimizing the impact of the disease. Those who make the Pledge help ensure that uncertainty around intellectual property rights will not slow or impede urgently needed solutions in this critical time.

“Amazon, Facebook, HPE, IBM, Microsoft, and Sandia National Laboratories are demonstrating their vision and leadership by putting global health first,” said Jorge Contreras, professor of law at the University of Utah, and one of the authors of the Open COVID Pledge. “They are granting free and legal access to their patents to empower those addressing this pandemic to create and implement life-saving tools and technology.”

“It’s terrific to see them using the standard licenses we’ve made available at or have declared compatible with the Open COVID Pledge,” said Diane Peters, General Counsel of Creative Commons and one of the Open COVID Pledge’s authors. “This approach makes it easy for users of the licensed material to quickly understand the legal terms that are offered to them. By reducing complexity and ensuring interoperability with other licensed content, these companies are welcoming innovators all around the world to build upon their IP and create new solutions that might put an end to the pandemic.”

“Microsoft is always looking for ways to use our patents to contribute to positive outcomes, and the fight against COVID-19 is one of the most urgent issues of our time,” said Jennifer Yokoyama, Chief IP Counsel of Microsoft. “Pledges and open licensing like this effort can help spur innovation, especially in a crisis like this one. Researchers, scientists, and others working against the virus should be able to develop and deploy effective solutions at scale without needing to worry about the threat of patent litigation.”

“The patent system was created to promote progress, and we don’t believe that patents should ever be used to exploit innovation at the expense of the people it was meant to serve,” said Jeremiah Chan, Facebook’s Director and Associate General Counsel, Head of Patents. “The Open COVID Pledge aligns with Facebook’s goal to support communities and empower innovators, and we’re proud to join like-minded companies to aid the fight against this pandemic.”

“HPE’s patent portfolio covers numerous technologies, such as supercomputing, swarm learning, and location-based services, that can aid in the global fight against COVID-19,” said Brett Alten, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “The Open COVID Pledge aligns with our purpose to advance the way people live and work by enabling organizations to freely use and combine our innovations with their own technologies to create breakthrough solutions to combat this disease. We encourage other innovators to join us in this pledge.”

“We support efforts to speed the development of preventative measures, treatments, and cures during this outbreak,” said Scott Hayden, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Intellectual Property at Amazon. “This commitment is a part of our ongoing efforts to support customers, employees, and communities around the world during this difficult time.”

“IBM is committed to using our technology and expertise to drive meaningful progress in this global COVID-19 fight,” said Dr. John Kelly, Executive Vice President, IBM. “IBM has always been a company that fosters innovation and it is our hope, in making our technology more widely available, we can provide valuable tools researchers and scientists can use to stop the spread and find cures for this pandemic.”

“This isn’t just a public health crisis; it’s also an economic crisis,” said Susan Seestrom, Sandia’s chief research officer. “Companies need new ways of doing business. They need cybersecurity tools so they can operate remotely. They need advanced manufacturing techniques to produce goods that are in high demand. If Sandia intellectual property can help, we want to lower barriers to people getting it.”

Companies, universities, organizations, and individuals can make or support the Open COVID Pledge by visiting or contacting

About Open COVID Pledge

The Open COVID Pledge calls on organizations around the world to make their patents and copyrights freely available in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pledge was developed by the Open COVID Coalition, an international group of scientists and lawyers seeking to accelerate the rapid development and deployment of diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, medical equipment and software solutions in this urgent public health crisis. To make or support the Pledge, visit or contact

Facebook announcement
Hewlett Packard Enterprise announcement
IBM announcement
Microsoft announcement

Open COVID Coalition Publishes New License

By: Diane Peters, Open COVID Coalition Steering Committee and General Counsel Creative Commons

Today we published a new version of our original Open COVID License (OCL-PC 1.1), and a second license for those wishing to grant access to their patent portfolios only (OCL-P 1.1). 

The successful adoption of our license by Intel and Fabricatorz Foundation has set a new bar for technology companies when sharing their intellectual property for the public good in this time of crisis. Thanks to their early adoption and growing demand, we are taking the opportunity to refine our original license and create an additional, new license for those wishing to pledge patents exclusively. 

For details about our new license and the differences between the versions, see this chart we’ve prepared on our FAQ page.

Patent holders urged to take “Open COVID Pledge” for quicker end to pandemic

April 7, 2020, 5 pm EDT

For Immediate Release

An international coalition of scientists and lawyers is calling on organizations to make their intellectual property freely available for the fight against COVID-19.

With the number of people afflicted with COVID-19 surging past 1 million, thousands dying of COVID-19 every day, and the situation likely to worsen in the coming months, an international coalition of legal experts, engineers and scientists are calling on companies, universities and other organizations to make their intellectual property (IP) temporarily available free of charge for use in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and minimizing the impact of the disease.

“These unprecedented times call for creativity and generous sharing of knowledge,” says Jennifer Doudna, Executive Director of the Innovative Genomics Institute of UC Berkeley and UCSF, who pledged to make their COVID-19 IP freely available. “Enabling individuals and organizations across the world to work on solutions together, without impediments, is the quickest way to end this pandemic.”

Intel Corporation, the world’s leading semiconductor and electronics manufacturer, has signed onto the Pledge, committing its global portfolio of over 72,000 patents to the fight against COVID-19.  Intel’s General Counsel, Steve Rodgers, says “Scientists and researchers need the freedom to make Covid-19 innovations and inventions without the threat of being sued by intellectual property owners.  For that reason, we are giving Covid-19 scientists and researchers free access to Intel’s vast worldwide intellectual property portfolio – one of the world’s largest – in the hope and belief that making this intellectual property freely available to them will save lives.  Intel is proud to join the Open COVID Pledge as a founding sponsor. On behalf of Intel employees around the world, and especially our inventors who have worked so hard to create Intel’s intellectual property, we encourage intellectual property holders around the world to join us in this pledge.”

Jorge Contreras, a professor at the University of Utah and an expert on patent pledges, says “the Open COVID Pledge is an ideal way for companies across the board to help combat the pandemic; we are optimistic that Intel’s participation will lead the way for other high tech leaders to join this effort.”

We encourage other organizations to consider whether they can join the pledge and help address the COVID-19 pandemic by making relevant IP available without charge for public use for related activities.

“The last thing people rushing to figure out how to prevent, treat, and stop this pandemic need is to worry about who owns what IP,” said Dr. Michael Eisen, Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology and HHMI investigator at UC Berkeley. “If everyone signs the Open COVID Pledge, they can focus on the immense challenges in front of us, and change the course of the pandemic.”

The effort has received critical backing from groups dedicated to removing legal barriers to sharing. Diane Peters, the General Counsel of Creative Commons, one of these supporters, adds “It’s critical that relevant scientific resources are made available to anyone in the world to use and build upon in the fight against COVID-19. Creative Commons is especially eager to engage with our global network to spread the word about this effort and garner robust international support for this approach.”

The Pledge has received public expressions of support from highly regarded organizations around the world including Mozilla, Creative Commons, Unified Patents, Fabricatorz Foundation, the Idea Laboratory for Intellectual Property in Bogota, Colombia, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital), the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), the Stanford Program in Law, Science, and Technology, the Center for Law and the Biosciences at the University of Utah, the Health Law and Policy Institute of the University of Houston, and the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at American University, among others.

This approach complements other efforts such as the Wellcome Trust pledge on free sharing of research results and data, appeals to the World Health Organization to create a voluntary patent pool, and the growing number of open source COVID-19 solutions. Several organizations have already made similar pledges, most recently the US pharmaceutical company AbbVie, which last week waived worldwide restrictions on manufacturing its Lopinavir/Ritonavir HIV combination drug as a treatment for COVID-19. In addition, Medtronics and UK based SMITHS group have released ventilator design files and manufacturing guidance under a permissive license. In addition, Stanford, MIT and Harvard Universities today announced a similar pledge of intellectual property in support of the fight against COVID-19.

To facilitate the implementation of the Open COVID Pledge, the coalition has also created an Open COVID License, available on the website, which provides legal language allowing organizations to permit the application of their IP to COVID-19 for the duration of the pandemic. In promoting a voluntary commitment, the Open COVID Pledge differs from compulsory licensing measures that some countries have taken or proposed. 

Mark Radcliffe, a partner at the international law firm DLA Piper and one of the organizers of the project, notes that “The Open COVID Pledge is in the collaborative spirit of ‘open source’ which has been so successful for software.” 

Mark Lemley, a law professor at Stanford University who helped develop the Open COVID Pledge, says, “It is in everybody’s interest to end this pandemic as quickly as possible. We hope that other organizations will join these Founding Adopters in ensuring that their IP can be part of the solution.” 

The international coalition behind the Open COVID Pledge is calling upon the world to come together and prioritize global health. Any organization that wants to adopt the Pledge should visit for more information. Organizations that adopt the Pledge by April 21st will be considered Founding Adopters.

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Advance coverage:

Bloomberg: Scientists, Lawyers Create Coronavirus IP Pledge 

Law360: Businesses Urged To Make COVID-19 IP Free During Crisis 

IAM: No strings Covid-19 IP pledge initiative underlines delicate balance biopharma businesses must strike 

World IP Review: COVID-19 ‘pledge’ urges rights owners to share IP