The Tübingen biotech company Curevac sees its patents being infringed by its competitor Biontech. Curevac has therefore filed a lawsuit against Biontech and two subsidiaries of the Mainz-based company at the Düsseldorf Regional Court, the Tübingen-based company announced on Tuesday.
Curevac is therefore demanding “fair compensation” for the violation of a number of its intellectual property rights, which were used in the manufacture and sale of the Covid 19 vaccine Comirnaty by Biontech and its US partner Pfizer. However, the company said it does not plan to issue an injunction or take any legal action that would interfere with Biontech’s and Pfizer’s production, sale or distribution of Comirnaty.
Among other things, the Tübingen-based company argues that they have developed patented basic technology in connection with the production of mRNA molecules over the past 22 years. This made a significant contribution to the development of the Covid-19 vaccine. Their success is therefore based on research and innovation supported by Curevac as the “earliest pioneer of mRNA technology”.
At Biontech, no comment was initially available. The district court declined to comment on the matter. Curevac said the company had long been aware of the alleged infringement of its patents. “At the peak of the pandemic, none of us would have thought of pointing out the patent infringement. We believe the time is right now that there is better control over the pandemic,” a spokeswoman said.
It remains unclear whether Curevac also wants to sue US competitor Moderna. Curevac boss Franz-Werner Haas recently told the “FAZ”: “Even if the previous vaccines may not have a Curevac logo, they are largely based on mRNA technologies that we have been developing since 2000.”
Curevac was considered one of the great hopes in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine, but suffered a serious setback when its own vaccine did not work as well as hoped and the project was stopped. The Tübingen-based company is now working on an improved vaccine together with the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, while Biontech and Pfizer are bringing in billions in sales with their vaccine.