Patents themselves are publicly accessible, noted James Pooley, intellectual property attorney and former deputy director general of the United Nations' World Intellectual Property Organization. But trade secrets developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and others, "cook books" of manufacturing processes such as temperature and growing conditions, have not been made public. That may ultimately be a dual problem for negotiators. Before they protect the knowledge, U.S. officials would have to ensure access to it.
Those companies would need to be persuaded to come to the bargaining table to give up such trade secrets.
“What happens when it turns out that the U.S. can’t actually deliver the information that is critically important to implementing the inventions?” Pooley asked. “This will be seen as another failure by the U.S. and other rich countries to keep their promises.”