Moderna sues Pfizer and BioNTech over COVID-19 vaccine

Moderna said in a statement that Pfizer and BioNTech infringed on patents filed between 2010 and 2016 that covered its mRNA technology.

Vials with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine labels are seen in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2021.  (photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION/FILE PHOTO)
Vials with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine labels are seen in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION/FILE PHOTO)

Moderna is suing Pfizer and BioNTech over alleged infringement of its mRNA vaccine technology patents, the company announced on Friday.

Moderna said in a statement that Pfizer and BioNTech infringed on patents filed between 2010 and 2016 that covered its mRNA technology.

Moderna, which is based in Cambridge, Mass., sued in US District Court in Massachusetts and the Regional Court of Düsseldorf in Germany, where BioNTech is based.

“We are filing these lawsuits to protect the innovative mRNA technology platform that we pioneered, invested billions of dollars in creating, and patented during the decade preceding the COVID-19 pandemic,” Moderna chief executive officer Stéphane Bancel said.

“We are filing these lawsuits to protect the innovative mRNA technology platform that we pioneered, invested billions of dollars in creating, and patented during the decade preceding the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Moderna chief executive officer Stéphane Bancel

Messenger RNA, or mRNA, is the genetic script that carries DNA instructions to each cell’s protein-making machinery and has been used in the production of coronavirus vaccines.

 A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site operated by SOMOS Community Care during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 29, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR) A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site operated by SOMOS Community Care during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 29, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR)

Moderna said it would not enforce its patents

Moderna said in 2020 that it would not enforce its patents during the pandemic to allow for an unhindered public health response.

But in March, the company said it expected manufacturers that are not based in or producing in low- or middle-income countries to respect the company’s intellectual property.

Moderna stated that it was not seeking damages for activities before March 8 and that it was not seeing to remove Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccines from the market and that it was not asking for an injunction to prevent its future sale, given the need for access to coronavirus vaccines, according to the New York Times.