Prof. Patrick Ogwang, the creator of Covidex, a drug said to treat Covid-19 has applied to the Uganda Registration Services Bureau(URSB) to have the product patented.
A patent allows the owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of years, in exchange for publishing an enabling public disclosure of the invention.
In a general notice in the Uganda Gazette, Prof Ogwang seeks to register Covidex as his own product and has powers for making and selling of the same.
“Notice is hereby given that any person who has grounds to oppose the registration of any of the marks advertised herein may within sixty days from the date of this gazette lodge a notice of opposition,” the notice reads in part.
According to the notice, the application by Prof Ogwang was done on June,28,2021 whereas the nature of goods and services is a herbal medical drug.
The development comes as the war over Covidex ownership continues to rage on.
Last week, Prof Ogwang together with his company, Jena Herbals Uganda Limited through their lawyers of Omongole and Co Advocates threatened to sue Mbarara University for use without consent and authorization three of their products including Jena DS Xtra, Artemune, and Covidex to solicit funding from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
“The contract between Mbarara University and the Ministry of Science and Technology is formed on the three products yet our client was neither involved nor informed. We deem this as illegal and fraudulent action by the university and urge them not to go ahead with the said action without authorisation of our client or Prof. Ogwang personally,” the lawyers say in the intention to sue sent to the university but also copied to the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The lawyers say the act by the university to use the product of Prof Ogwang without his knowledge and consent can only be equated to plagiarism and fraudulent dealings that they want stopped as soon as possible.
They asked the university to immediately abandon all its plans and intentions of using the products of Prof Ogwang without his permission.
“Should the university deem it fit to continue with the said illegal acts, they should be ready to be held liable for infringement of the trademarks, patents and all associated intellectual property rights for which Jena Herbals Uganda Limited will not hesitate to demand for shs100 billion for unlawful use of their products,” the lawyers said.
Prof Ogwang insists that Covidex formula was developed and has undergone laboratory tests by him and his team of scientists from Mbarara University.
He consequently asked the university to back off his herbal medicine.
Covidex, a formula developed by me, has undergone only laboratory tests by me and my team of scientists at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)
Earlier, in a June 14 letter, Prof Celestino Obua, the Mbarara University vice-chancellor said that Covidex is fully owned by the university and that Jena Herbals Uganda Limited, the company owned by Prof Ogwang should stop manufacturing the product unless the university permits.
“Any third party interested in production, distribution, or sale of Covidex without prejudice is hereby asked to desist from negotiating any deals with any individual, other than the university authority, who is the holder of the Intellectual Property Rights for this product, and for the avoidance of any doubts, in this case Mbarara University of Science and Technology authority,” Obua said.
Last week, Prof Patrick Ogwang was sued by lawyer George William Alenyo, and Christian Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture, Industry, Trade and Tourism for claiming ownership of Covidex.
The two petitioners say that Covidex is proprietary patent for the government of Uganda, having been developed on government funds, premises, and laboratories and by government public servants paid from the Consolidated Fund .
They say that having been developed at Mbarara University by scientists paid by government money means Covidex belongs to government.