The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe is embarking on a novel business partnership with a pharmaceutical company. The company pays the tribe to hold the patents for a profitable drug. In exchange, the tribe’s sovereign immunity prevents generic drug makers from getting at the drug’s formula. Some members of Congress are now drafting laws to prevent such agreements. The tribe is also suing business giants Microsoft and Amazon for patent infringement. It’s one of several instances in which tribes leverage sovereignty in business deals. Is this a new and innovative revenue-generating model? Or is the idea headed for a legal defeat? We’ll try and sort out the prospects.
Elizabeth Winston – professor of law at The Catholic University of America at the Columbus School of Law
Matthew Compton – attorney at Prebeg, Faucett & Abbott PLLC
David Petite (Fond du Lac Chippewa Tribe) – inventor and founder of Native American Intellectual Property Enterprise Council
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