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Patrick Keane, executive shareholder in the firm's Intellectual Property section, comments on IP concerns surrounding automakers' shift to manufacture face shields, masks, respirators and ventilators for healthcare workers and other emergency personnel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Patrick Keane, an IP attorney with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, described the president's move of invoking the wartime law as an “eminent domain-like authorization” to mobilize manufacturers who are interested in building highly complex equipment like ventilators. And it might provide some cover for companies running up against IP issues, he said.

“A significant concern with other industries, such as auto manufacturers, veering into ventilator production is the possibility of patent right infringement,” Keane said. “However, with President Trump activating the DPA, it could provide auto manufacturers the right to produce these ventilators with potential for the U.S. government to accept responsibility for any related patent infringement.”

“The bottom line is, as long as competitors are careful to work with the government and patent rights holders, the situation can be effectively and efficiently implemented in the interest of promoting health needs of all,” Keane said.

Read more in Law360's article "Automakers' Shift to Med Supplies Comes With Legal Hazards."