For Ellen ‘t Hoen’s “fierce” advocacy on access to medicine, and in particular for her efforts under the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure knowledge and intellectual property sharing relevant to treating COVID, she has been recognised by the journal Managing IP as one of 2020’s most influential people in intellectual property under the category of “notable individuals”.
Ellen has written and spoken widely on the need for any technology needed for an effective response to the global pandemic to become a global public good, and her articles and interviews have attracted much-needed attention to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool. This mechanism is intended to ensure know-how and intellectual property that could help stop the pandemic is shared, as no one country or company could possibly meet the volume or urgency of need.
This is Ellen’s 5th recognition by Managing IP. She was also recognised as one of IP’s most influential in 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2011.
Also in the category of “notable individuals” working on Covid this year are Diane Peters, the general counsel at Creative Commons, for posting an “Open Covid Pledge” where companies could offer their IP to anyone committed to using it against the pandemic; and Christian Fracassi, who bypassed IP rights by publishing a reverse-engineered file allowing anyone with a 3D printer to make replacement valves for respiratory machines needed to treat Covid patients. For non-Covid issues, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna were recognised for their discovery of gene editing technique CRISPR-Cas9, for which they won this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry; George Floyd, whose killing by police sparked a necessary global conversation on racism and in the IP world a series of rebranding over racially charged logos; and Stephen Thaler, who tried (and failed) to secure patent protection over technologies invented by an artificial intelligence rather than a person.