About Us

The Open COVID Pledge calls on organizations around the world to make their patents and copyrights freely available in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pledge was originally developed by an international group of researchers, scientists, academics and lawyers seeking to accelerate the rapid development and deployment of diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, medical equipment, and software solutions in this urgent public health crisis. The project is led and stewarded by the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at American University Washington College of law. To make the pledge or for information about how to support the pledge, please contact patentpledges@wcl.american.edu.

Steering Committee

We are a group of scientists, lawyers, entrepreneurs and individuals working to promote the removal of obstacles involving intellectual property in the fight against COVID-19.  We are committed to innovative solutions to address this crisis, and urge the adoption of the Open COVID Pledge, Open COVID License, and other similar solutions in support of this goal.


Jorge L. Contreras, JD

Presidential Scholar and Professor, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law; Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Human Genetics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Research Fellow, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, American University Washington College of Law

Diane M. Peters, JD 

Senior Fellow, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, American University Washington College of Law

Meredith Jacob, JD

Project Director, Copyright and Open Licensing, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, American University Washington College of Law


Eric Steuer, JD

Creative Director and Communications Director, Creative Commons

Michael Eisen, PhD

Professor and HHMI Investigator, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley. Editor-in-Chief, eLife.

Ariel Ganz, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Mark Lemley, JD

William H. Neukom Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and the Director of the Stanford Law School Program in Law, Science & Technology.

Jenny Molloy, PhD

Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge

Alexander James Phillips

Co-founder, Helpful Engineering.

Mark Radcliffe, JD

Partner, DLA Piper

Frank Tietze, PhD

Lecturer in Technology and Innovation Management, Department of Engineering, Innovation and IP Management (IIPM) Lab, University of Cambridge

Reading and Resources


Jorge L. Contreras & Meredith Jacob, eds., Patent Pledges: Global Perspectives On Patent Law’s Private Ordering Frontier (Edward Elgar, 2017) (IPKat’s Best Patent Law Book of 2018), https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/patent-pledges-9781785362484.html

Articles (in chronological order)

Diane M. Peters, General Counsel, Open Source Development Labs, Understanding Patent Pledges: an Overview of Legal Considerations. https://patentcommons.org/publications/OSDL_Whitepaper_Final_final_4-12-06.pdf (2006)

Lydia Pallas Loren, Building a Reliable Semicommons of Creative Works: Enforcement of Creative Commons Licenses and Limited Abandonment of Copyright, 14 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 271 (2007), https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=957939

Jorge L. Contreras, Patent Pledges, 47(3) Ariz. St. L.J. 543-608 (2015), https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2525947

Jorge L. Contreras, A Market Reliance Theory for FRAND Commitments and Other Patent Pledges, 2015(2) Utah L. Rev. 479-558 (2015), https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2309023

Marta Belcher and John Casey, Hacking the Patent System: A Guide to Alternative Patent Licensing for Innovators, Juelsgaard Intellectual Property & Innovation Clinic at Stanford Law School (January 2016), https://www.eff.org/document/hacking-patent-system-2016

Jesse L. Reynolds, Jorge L. Contreras & Joshua D. Sarnoff, Solar Climate Engineering and Intellectual Property: Toward a Research Commons, 18 Minn. J. L. Sci. & Tech. 1-110 (2017), https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2753833

Jorge L. Contreras, The Evolving Patent Pledge Landscape, CIGI Papers No. 166, Apr. 3, 2018, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3157572

Jorge L. Contreras, Bronwyn H. Hall & Christian Helmers, Pledging Patents for the Public Good: Rise and Fall of the Eco-Patent Commons, 57 Houston L. Rev. 61-109 (2019), https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3466156

Jonas Fabian Ehrnsperger & Frank Tietze, Patent pledges, open IP, or patent pools? Developing taxonomies in the thicket of terminologies. PLoS ONE 14(8): e0221411 (2019), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0221411

F. Tietze, P. Vimalnath, L. Aristodemou and J. Molloy, “Crisis-Critical Intellectual Property: Findings From the COVID-19 Pandemic,” in IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, doi: 10.1109/TEM.2020.2996982. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9120047 (2020)

Web sites

Creative Commons, CC0 “No Rights Reserved”, https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/

American University Washington College of Law – Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, Standards-Essential Patents and FRAND Licensing, https://www.wcl.american.edu/impact/initiatives-programs/pijip/impact/patent/