Who has the legal right to GS-441524?

Note: this article was updated on 09-21-2019 to reflect the addition of the Regents of the University of California (process started 08-12-2019  and completed 09-17-2019).



Who owns the chemical we know as GS-441524? Who is allowed to use it in a commercial product, and sell it on the market? Two simple questions, one straightforward answer: Gilead Sciences, Inc, and the Regents of the University of California (a patent applicant change was made shortly after this article was initially published on 08/12/2019.)
That’s it — no one else because the patent to GS-441524 belongs to them.


The definition of a patent is :
A government authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.

US Patent Law
In the US, patent law is set out in the Code of Federal Regulations | govinfo, Title 35, Chapter Section 10, Paragraph 101:
Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.

EU Patent Law
In the EU, a patent is described as a legal right:
A patent is a legal title which protects a technical invention for a limited period. It gives the owner the right to prevent others from exploiting the invention in the countries for which it has been granted.

The Business Dictionary gives perhaps the best definition when it comes to the question of GS-441524 ownership:
Limited legal monopoly granted to an individual or firm to make, use, and sell its invention, and to exclude others from doing so. An invention is patentable if it is novel, useful, and non-obvious.

What can be patented?

To receive a patent, the application must disclose all details of the invention so that others can use it to further advance the technology with new inventions. Patentable items fall under four classes:
(1) Machine: apparatus or device with interrelated parts that work together to perform the invention’s designed or intended functions,
(2) Manufacture: all manufactured or fabricated items,
(3) Process: chemical, mechanical, electrical or other process that produces a chemical or physical change in the condition or character of an item,  
(4) Composition of matter: chemical compounds or mixtures having properties different from their constituent ingredients.

GS-441524 Patent - Updated

Gilead Science filed its patent March 14, 2017. The application is titled Methods of treating feline coronavirus infection. The patented applications include FIPv and FIP. On September 17, 2019, the patent was amended to include The Regents of The University of California as co-applicant with Gilead Sciences, Inc.

The patent is granted worldwide and encompasses additional chemical compounds for the same purpose (FCoV, FIPv, and FIP methods of treatment).

So that is it, folks. GS-441524 is the joint property of Gilead Sciences, Inc. and The Regents of the University of California. Anyone who chooses to sell anything based on their chemical compound(s) without their explicit permission is stealing from them.

The meaning of ownership

In case there’s any doubt regarding the meaning of property, here is a short definition:
Property is anything that is owned by a person or entity.

Here is a simple example that should make everyone understand property rights:
Let’s say you own a car. At the moment, you have no use for it, so you don’t drive it. You may change your mind later, but for now, it is parked in your garage, and no one uses it.
Your neighbor sees your car and decides he wants it. And since you are not driving it… it must mean that you don’t need it or don’t value it. So the neighbor takes your car and drives away. That’s called theft. What options do you have?
Option 1: You tell the neighbor that it is OK, he can keep the car, sell it even, and keep the money because yes, you agree that the neighbor has a right to your property if you don’t use it.
Option 2: you want your stolen property back and call the cops.

No matter how you twist it, or how you try to explain it, it is the same thing. Stealing is stealing, and black market is stealing. Any first-year law student can understand the concept of property. No lawyer – at least not one who values his license and job – would ever try to make an argument to the contrary and try to justify or support in any way, shape or form, the sale and use of black-market substances in lieu of the actual, patented formula just because the rightful owner of the formula chooses not to make it available to the public.

All of us in the FIP community regret that, at this time, there is no GS-441524 FDA application specifically for FIP treatment and hope that it will become available. What we really need is a well-tested, FDA-approved drug available legally. Not some Chinese-made chemical, stolen from the rightful owners, sold on the black market, with acknowledgement and support from UC Davis and Dr. Pedersen.