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It’s the stuff that headline writers’ dreams are made of: Moderna is suing Pfizer and BioNTech over their Covid vaccines.

As someone who has written dozens of catchy headlines about patent suits and read hundreds more, let me offer a bit of advice: Take several deep breaths. Most likely, this is less dramatic than it seems.


The reality of patent litigation in the pharmaceutical industry is that it proceeds at a glacial pace. And it rarely results in products being pulled from the market (Moderna isn’t even asking for that!) or for payments or royalties so significant that they dramatically change the profitability of a product. These lawsuits, though, can involve sums large enough that they make a financial difference to investors.

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