As major economies around the world shudder and contract due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, major businesses are setting aside rivalries to establish a partnership that aims to end the threat caused by the novel coronavirus. In April 2020, major companies pledged to make their intellectual property available for free to those working to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
Named the Open COVID Pledge, the agreement was founded by a group of major corporations that includes IBM, Microsoft, and Intel . By making the pledge, organizations agree to publish a license that permits the free use of specific intellectual property owned by the corporation as long as the intellectual property is being used with the aim of ending or mitigating the effects of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
As an example of the type of intellectual property that is being made available, AT&T is allowing free use of patents regarding computer networks, software, and medical equipment. Corporations as large as the founders of the Open COVID Pledge often have vast numbers of patents in a diverse range of fields, so the pledge offers many researchers an exciting opportunity to work with information and technology they would normally not be able to use.
The fight against the novel coronavirus is still in an early stage. However, the cooperation of major holders of potentially valuable intellectual property offers hope that this pandemic can be brought under control sooner than some projections have suggested is possible.
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