Biden’s plan on “March-In Rights” will harm American innovation for years to come

Washington, D.C. – Today, the global consumer advocacy group Consumer Choice Center launched a policy primer highlighting the need for thoughtful policy regarding the use of “march-in rights” moving forward. March-in rights are a rarely invoked legal mechanism that allows the government to supersede existing and underutilized patents and redistribute the licenses for new inventions. 

As the Biden Administration plans an unprecedented expansion of the application of march-in rights under the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, there are legitimate concerns about the potential repercussions for consumer access to innovative products.

Elizabeth Hicks, US Affairs Analyst at Consumer Choice Center and co-author of the primer explains,

“The Biden Administration’s stated desire to use march-in rights as a mechanism to lower the prices of pharmaceutical drugs is a huge deviation from the norm. March-In is supposed to be for safety standards or national security concerns, which appears purely political.”


Overzealous invocation of march-in rights would erode intellectual property rights as patent protection becomes a less certain thing for entrepreneurs. This would threaten the vitality of entrepreneurship across numerous sectors and shrink the number of inventions coming to market for consumers and patients.

“Innovators may well limit their investments into Research & Development (R&D) if their intellectual property becomes vulnerable.” Hicks continued, “China is catching up to the US with their 22% share of global R&D, and Beijing’s rate of growth is almost double that of the US. That means the United States’ leadership in R&D is in jeopardy. This won’t help.”

The Consumer Choice Center strongly discourages election season thinking that could hinder and potentially freeze innovation for years to come. Policymakers should focus on fostering an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and private investment.

“The Biden Administration risks shattering 40 years of precedent where march-in rights have not been abused in this manner. It would be the opening of a Pandora’s Box on patent law, and that’s not something that innovators can tolerate,” concluded Hicks.


For interview requests and further comments, please contact: 

Stephen Kent
Media Director

About the Consumer Choice Center:

The Consumer Choice Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending the rights of consumers around the world. Our mission is to promote freedom of choice, healthy competition, and evidence-based policies that benefit consumers. We work to ensure that consumers have access to a variety of quality products and services and can make informed decisions about their lifestyle and consumption. Find out more at www.consumerchoicecenter.org

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