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Fact check: Rothschild did not patent a test for COVID-19 in 2015 and 2017

By Reuters Staff

The false claim that a testing method for COVID-19 was patented by Richard Rothschild in 2015 and 2017 has been shared online. The patent for a system that analyzes biometric data to determine whether the user is suffering from COVID-19 was not applied for until May 17, 2020.

The allegation is the subject of an article, which can be seen (here).

The website points to a Dutch website that shows a patent for a “System and Method for Testing for COVID-19” (here).

The patent is numbered ‘US20200279585A1’ and has a “Prioriteitdate” (Dutch for “priority date”) of “2015-10-13”.

The article claims that the 2015 priority date is evidence that the coronavirus pandemic has been planned.

But the author has conflated the terms “priority date” and “application date”.

The priority date can refer to the earliest filing date in a family of related patent applications, or to the earliest filing date of a particular feature of an invention (here).

In this case, Oct. 13, 2015 is when Rothschild first made a provisional application within this family of patents.

A series of regular, non-provisional patent applications were subsequently made for a “System and Method For Using, Processing, and Displaying Biometric Data” (here).

These earlier patents are essentially the predecessors to ‘US20200279585A1’ - and as such share similar features, such as the use of biometric data (here).

However, the patent for a system that analyzes biometric data to determine whether the user is suffering from COVID-19 was not applied for until May 17, 2020 (here).

The article also claims to provide evidence of a patent for COVID-19 testing being filed for in 2017.

It references the patent for a “System and Method for Using, Biometric, and Displaying Biometric Data” and its filing date of April 24, 2017 (here).

As already discussed, although this patent is indeed a predecessor to ‘US20200279585A1’, it does not mention COVID-19 in any form.

VERDICT

False. The year 2015 was when Rothschild first filed a provisional application within the family of patents. The year 2017 is the filing date of a related, but separate patent within the family.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.