Moderna Sues Pfizer Over COVID-19 Vaccine Patents

Moderna is suing Pfizer for allegedly copying Moderna’s patented technology to make their COVID-19 vaccine.


COVID-19 vaccine producer Moderna is suing Pfizer and German drug company BioNTech for allegedly copying Moderna’s patented technology to make their COVID-19 vaccine.

  • “We believe that Pfizer and BioNTech unlawfully copied Moderna’s inventions, and they have continued to use them without permission,” Moderna’s chief legal officer said in a statement.
  • Moderna claims Pfizer and BioNTech copied its mRNA technology and is suing Pfizer for unspecified financial damages in U.S. and German courts.
  • Their lawsuit alleges Pfizer copied Moderna’s mRNA technology, patented between 2010 and 2016, years before the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2019.
  • Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna are all currently facing separate lawsuits over patent infringement, which is “not uncommon in the early stages of new technology.”

reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • CNN covered in more detail the specific instances of alleged patent infringement. Moderna claims Pfizer produced “a vaccine that has the same exact mRNA chemical modification to its vaccine as Spikevax. Moderna scientists began developing this chemical modification that avoids provoking an undesirable immune response when mRNA is introduced into the body in 2010 and were the first to validate it in human trials in 2015.”
  • The Guardian noted Moderna is only seeking damages for activity after March 8, 2022, as the company declared early in the pandemic that it would not enforce its patents to help low and middle-income countries develop their own vaccines.
  • The New York Times provided more background on messenger RNA (mRNA), “the genetic script that carries DNA instructions to each cell’s protein-making machinery and has been used in the production of coronavirus vaccines.”



  • The Wall Street Journal reported this lawsuit could lead to a “lengthy legal confrontation” and “the end of a period of unusual comity among big drugmakers” spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Washington Examiner noted Moderna is not asking Pfizer to take its vaccine off the market while the lawsuit winds its way through American and German courts.
  • The Daily Wire picked up the statement from Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s chief executive officer, after news of the lawsuit broke. Bancel said, “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.”

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© Dominic Moore, 2022