Moderna sued Pfizer and BioNTech in U.S. and German courts Friday, accusing the vaccine competitors of copying its messenger RNA technology that was the novel basis for Covid vaccines.
“We believe that Pfizer and BioNTech unlawfully copied Moderna’s inventions, and they have continued to use them without permission,” said Moderna Chief Legal Officer Shannon Thyme Klinger. Outside of 92 low- and middle-income countries that could obtain Covid vaccines through the Covax program, “Moderna expects Pfizer and BioNTech to compensate Moderna for Comirnaty®’s ongoing use of Moderna’s patented technologies.”
Moderna said it’s not seeking to have the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine removed from the market, nor is it seeking an injunction preventing future sales. But the company suggested it is seeking damages as of March 8, when it updated its pledge not to enforce any patents pertaining to Covid during the pandemic.
Moderna “made clear that while it would never enforce its patents for any COVID-19 vaccine used in the 92 low- and middle-income countries in the GAVI COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC 92), Moderna expected companies such as Pfizer and BioNTech to respect its intellectual property rights and would consider a commercially reasonable license should they request one for other markets,” the company said in a statement. “Pfizer and BioNTech have failed to do so.”
Pfizer and BioNTech could not be reached for comment.