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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Global Access Statement

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Global Access is a concept developed by the foundation to ensure foundation-funded projects (whether they be grants, contracts or program related investments, collectively, “Programmatic Investments”) and the resulting products, services, processes, technologies, materials, software, data and other innovations (collectively, “Funded Developments”) will have positive impact on the beneficiaries served by the foundation’s work. Global Access requires that (a) the knowledge and information gained from a Programmatic Investment be promptly and broadly disseminated, and (b) the Funded Developments be made available and accessible at an affordable price to our intended beneficiaries. Within the Global Health and Global Development programs our beneficiaries are the people most in need living in developing countries and within U.S. Programs they include low income students, students of color and first-generation college students, and the educational systems serving these communities.

Management of IP (typically patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, know-how and rights in data) and the associated rights (“IP Rights”) created or accessed through Programmatic Investments, is often critical to achieving Global Access. The foundation acknowledges that obtaining IP protection for certain technology or information in certain markets is an appropriate component of Global Access, provided that these IP Rights are managed in such a way as to ensure the broadest possible access to those most in need. Additionally, rights held by third parties must be evaluated to ensure they do not interfere with the objective of ensuring the availability and accessibility of the Funded Developments to serve our beneficiaries, including in terms of cost, quantity, supply and delivery.

Global Access Requirements

The foundation’s approach to Global Access approach is tailored to the particular investments and foundation strategies to ensure the results of the projects we fund achieve the programmatic objective and create access for our intended beneficiaries. To ensure Global Access, the foundation may conduct or require due diligence to determine the ability of a prospective party to a Programmatic Investment to effectively manage the IP Rights associated with Programmatic Investments in such a way that will achieve Global Access. In addition, the foundation may:

  • Require a “Global Access Strategy” or “Global Access Commitments Agreement” from our partners, explaining their plans to achieve their goals and further the foundation’s charitable objectives, including the identification of third party IP Rights and relationships arising in connection with the research, development, manufacturing, marketing and/or distribution of the Funded Developments, and the related IP management strategies, licensing structures, data management plans, and pricing frameworks.
  • Require a humanitarian license or other IP Rights in Funded Developments and essential background technology. In those cases where the foundation does reserve a humanitarian license, it does so as necessary to ensure that either the foundation or a sub-licensee has the rights necessary for the development, manufacture and distribution of Funded Developments to achieve Global Access.
  • Require periodic updates on progress and ongoing efforts to achieve Global Access.

For all Programmatic Investments, the agreement will establish specific Global Access requirements concerning milestones, reporting obligations and associated dates for submission. If you have any questions concerning the requirements under Global Access, please contact the Program Officer or the Legal Team representative working with the program.

Components of a Global Access Strategy

When required, a Global Access Strategy should be developed and signed by the grantee and all project collaborators, either collectively (e.g. through a collaboration agreement, data sharing agreement or the like) or individually (e.g. through incorporation into each agreement between a grantee and sub-grantee) because Global Access commitments are required be passed on to all sub-grantees and subcontractors under the Programmatic Investment. The Global Access Strategy should address the following essential components:

  • Background IP Rights: engagement by the grantee and project collaborators in a due diligence process to 1) identify background products, services, processes, technologies, materials, software, data and related intellectual property (IP) needed for the project and to achieve Global Access and 2) develop specific strategies to secure all necessary license rights to conduct the project and achieve the project objectives;
  • Funded Development Identification: establishment of a plan for reporting to the Foundation all Funded Developments and IP developed under the project;
  • IP Protection & Management: grantee strategy for managing IP Rights associated with both sole and joint Funded Developments, including details about anticipated cross-licensing, application differentiation, and market segmentation;
  • Materials & Data Sharing: management of material transfers and data sharing among project collaborators;
  • Publication: publication of research or project results (including data) consistent with the foundation’s Open Access policy; and
  • Development and Post-Project: plans and/or strategies regarding the use, development, manufacturing, marketing, post-project development, commercialization, distribution and sustainability of the Funded Developments, including:
    • how the Funded Developments/results of the project will be incorporated into products or services (as appropriate) and manufactured, distributed in and used to fulfill the Global Access objectives. These plans should take into consideration the existence of and necessary licenses to background IP, IP that arises under the project, and third-party IP as well as how the licenses will ensure the affordability and accessibility of the product to the target beneficiaries.
    • anticipated post-project development, commercialization and sustainability hurdles that might have to be addressed to ensure the Global Access objectives could be met, and describe the assumptions used to identify these potential hurdles.
    • how the broader product, service or markets (including any dual markets) may be leveraged to help create a sustainable solution for Global Access to the Funded Developments.
    • other commitments to ensure that products and services incorporating Funded Developments are accessible and affordable to our target beneficiaries.
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