Two lawsuits filed in Massachusetts and Germany claim the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine violated Moderna’s mRNA patents.

By Rebecca Robbins and Jenny Gross

The vaccine manufacturer Moderna sued Pfizer and BioNTech on Friday, claiming that its rivals’ Covid-19 shot copied groundbreaking technology that Moderna had developed years before the pandemic.

The allegation of patent infringement sets up what could become a protracted and expensive legal battle between the companies behind coronavirus vaccines that have saved millions of lives worldwide and raised hopes for future medical products using similar messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology.

Experts said Moderna’s litigation, regardless of its outcome, was unlikely to impede access to Covid vaccines or chill the development of mRNA products. But the outcome could dictate whether Pfizer or Moderna controls and profits more from a powerful and lucrative medical technology.

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