Statement on Intellectual Property

11/11/2021

Moderna has recognized the substantial role that the NIAID has played in helping to develop Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine by including NIAID scientists as co-inventors on published patent applications where they have made inventive contributions.

Under U.S. patent law, there are strict rules for determining who should be listed as inventors on a patent. Just because someone is an inventor on one patent application relating to our COVID-19 vaccine does not mean they are an inventor on every patent application relating to the vaccine.

We do not agree that NIAID scientists co-invented claims to the mRNA (modified nucleotide) sequence of our COVID-19 vaccine. The mRNA sequence was selected exclusively by Moderna scientists using Moderna’s technology and without input of NIAID scientists, who were not even aware of the mRNA sequence until after the patent application had already been filed. Therefore, only our scientists can be listed as the inventors on these claims.

This conclusion is supported NIAID’s own patent filings, specifically a separate patent application filed on February 11, 2020 with the University of Texas where NIAID scientists claim to have invented similar subject matter. As a legal and practical matter, the same thing cannot be claimed to be invented twice by the same people working with two different collaborators.

For those who would seek to twist Moderna’s good faith application of U.S. patent law into something else, nothing could be further from the truth.  Moderna remains the only company to have pledged not to enforce its COVID-19 intellectual property during the pandemic . Moreover, on September 29th, Moderna offered to resolve its dispute with NIAID by making the government co-owners of those patent applications that only listed Moderna scientists as inventors, including the right as co-owners to license the patents as they see fit.

Moderna is grateful for our collaboration with NIH scientists, and highly value their contributions. We remain focused on working together with our collaborators to address the pandemic.