Unfortunately, even in difficult times like these there are those trying to spread "fake news". Currently doing the rounds on social media is a post claiming that COVID-19 was designed and patented by the Pirbright Institute at the bidding of Bill Gates for some nefarious purpose.

I hope I don't have to go into a detailed discussion of the veracity of this (it's false, see the article below), but it made me think again that this is an example where patents can be hard to understand for the general public. Of course in this case the creators of the post likely know that they are spouting rubbish, but is there anything we can do as patent attorneys to help? As I've posted about before (here) I think it is really important to consider the PR implications of anything you're filing for - patent applications get published and we can frame the immediate information (such as the title, abstract and the opening paragraphs) in a way that will mitigate negative opinions being formed. In this case, it probably wouldn't be helpful, but keep in mind that patent applications may be read by more than just the patent office.

As an aside, if you were looking to manufacture a virus to start a New World Order or the like, applying for a patent is probably a really bad idea. A part of the trade-off in patenting is that you have to provide sufficient information about your invention in the description that a third party can pick up the application and practice the invention. This would obviously give any researchers a head-start on stopping your manufactured pandemic. You're also presumably not particularly interested in stopping other people from making your invention, the primary purpose of a patent - instead you'd surely be happy with more people making and releasing it!