The Coronavirus pandemic is spreading rapidly across the globe. Many have been infected, which has resulted in some casualties, and more is expected to come. Italy is badly hit, with more deaths recorded as compared to China, where the virus originated. People all over are doing their best to combat the virus, and trying to stop it from spreading further. Recently, the Chiara Hospital in Italy, was able to save the lives of 10 Coronavirus patients by replicating a much-needed valve for broken ventilators after the supply of the hospital ran out.
This act of bravery caught the eye of many, including the device manufacturer who threatened to sue the people who used a 3D printer to replicate the valve to save lives! The valves are being sold by the manufacturer for about $11,000, while the 3D printed replicas cost $1. The manufacturer claims their patents and copyrights have been violated. The manufacturer was actually approached by the volunteers, Christian Fracassi and Alessandro Ramaioli, to ask for the blueprints to save time and produce the valves as soon as possible as it could save lives. But not only were they turned back, they were threatened with a lawsuit for patent infringement.
The innovation of replicating the valves was created out of an emergency that was life-threatening. The Coronavirus is seriously deadly, and they just wanted to help save as many lives as they could, their intentions were good and honorable. The duo went on to replicate 3 versions, to see which would work best. This brave move saved 10 lives last March 14, and may possibly continue to save more. Fracassi posted on Facebook why they did what they did. “The patients were people in danger of life, and we acted. Period”. They made it clear that they had no intention to profit from their actions, and would not use the device after the danger of the Coronavirus had disappeared.
While normally they would be guilty of copyright infringement, these are not normal times. Italy is in need of any way to help their citizens from the virus, the country is surely desperate. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The “crime” was committed to save lives, in a state of emergency. Surely lawmakers will make an exception to the rule in this case. And maybe the manufacturer would have the heart and compassion to help out his countrymen, instead of just thinking of profit and property rights.