On Friday, mRNA vaccine developer Moderna filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech over the development of the first COVID-19 vaccine approved in the United States, claiming that the defendants stole technology that Moderna had developed years before the pandemic.
Moderna in a tweet wrote, Moderna is filing the suit against Pfizer and BioNTech, alleging infringement of patents central to Moderna’s innovative #mRNA technology platform.
The lawsuit was filed by Moderna at the Massachusetts U.S. District Court and asks for unspecified monetary damages. Moderna announced in a news release on Friday that the case would also be brought at the Düsseldorf Regional Court in Germany.
“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 Stephane Bancel said in the news release.
Moderna said its lawsuit was not meant to stop people from getting vaccines.
Pfizer and BioNTech unlawfully copied Moderna inventions
“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 AMC 92 countries, where vaccine supply is no longer a barrier to access, Moderna expects Pfizer and BioNTech to compensate Moderna for Comirnaty®’s ongoing use of Moderna’s patented technologies. Our mission to create a new generation of transformative medicines for patients by delivering on the promise of mRNA science cannot be achieved without a patent system that rewards and protects innovation.”
Recognizing the need to ensure continued access to these lifesaving vaccines, Moderna is not seeking to remove Comirnaty® from the market and is not asking for an injunction to prevent its future sale. In addition, Moderna is not seeking damages related to Pfizer’s sales to AMC 92 countries and is not seeking damages for Pfizer’s sales where the U.S. Government would be responsible for any damages. Consistent with Moderna’s patent pledge, the Company is also not seeking damages for activities occurring before March 8, 2022.
Pfizer shares fell nearly 1%, while BioNTech U.S.-listed shares were down about 1.5% in early trading on Friday.