The present COVID-19 pandemic creates potential patent infringement risk to companies endeavoring to help by making needed products at the behest of the government — ventilators, personal protective equipment or diagnostic tests for the virus, for example. What if a company manufactures such life-saving equipment, under contract with the government, or is ordered to do so pursuant to the recently invoked Defense Production Act: Could this lead to liability for infringement of third-party patents? The short answer is yes, unless appropriate measures are taken to eliminate or mitigate the risk and take advantage of available statutory provisions.
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