Avery J. Welker


On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic, just ninety days after patients in Wuhan, China, began experiencing an unknown pneumonia-like illness.1 States rapidly responded, beginning shutdowns just a few days later.2 Amidst the early shutdown chaos, Moderna began human trials on its new COVID-19 vaccine.3 Moderna’s road to vaccine development was not without bumps, however, as the company launched a patent validity attack on another company’s technology it used while developing its vaccine. The dispute made its way to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where the question focused on whether Moderna could even contest the results of an Inter Partes Review (“IPR”), which could have invalidated the patent and given Moderna license to use the technology, in the first place—i.e., did Moderna have standing?

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