Intellectual property creates value in Medtech

Catherine Hanratty

Intellectual property creates value in Medtech

Creating value in Medtech with Intellectual Property – knowledge of IP helps companies identify the blue sky opportunities.

It’s estimated that up to a third of R&D resources are wasted on inventions that already exist. Looking at an existing patent landscape can help smaller companies to save time by knowing what is already state of the art. This can also help companies target the best opportunities and avoid heavily patented technology spaces. When new technologies emerge, there is typically a “land grab” to secure intellectual property rights.

The Medtech arena is experiencing an explosion of synergies with other sciences. The capacities of information technology, data processing and artificial intelligence are advancing Medtech capacity. Other evolving sciences such as nanotechnology and genetic research are finding applications to offer novel solutions to healthcare problems. In vitro diagnostics, combined-treatment devices (such as drug eluting stents, antimicrobial catheters) connected healthcare and personalised medicine are just some of the exciting new hybrid territories for innovation – but as rapidly as prospects emerge, these opportunities are being sought and seized by forward-thinking players in the marketplace.

Strategic early moves set your course toward lasting competitive commercial advantages

A strategic patent portfolio is often key to obtaining finance for start-up Medtech companies. For early-stage companies, patents are often the only way for investors to place value on the company’s technology and judge the potential success before sales. When companies are young and cash-flow is typically carefully monitored, it is generally advised to begin by protecting the key features by seeking patent protection which is broad but which offers sufficient patent protection to cover the technology. It is prudent to consider both current and future business objectives and contemplate ways that competitors may attempt to design around the patent.

Build with incremental improvements to grow and fortify your portfolio

As the company grows and makes improvements to its technology, incremental refinements or additions can be patented to ring-fence around the core technology. Trade marks and design rights may also be registered. A growing intellectual property portfolio can increase market share and attract financing through venture capital or private equity investment. Strategic patents can also lead to joint ventures, collaborations and licenses with strategic partners. Filing international patent, trade mark and design applications strengthens a company’s intellectual property portfolio and expands company’s presence into the global marketplace. Often, it is worth filing in countries with a large target market for the product, countries where competitors’ manufacturing facilities are located, or countries that export such products to other regions. Europe, the United States, Japan, China and Brazil are now increasingly important in the global Medtech industry.

The intellectual property considerations in a Medtech produce life cycle. Intellectual property should be a primary consideration right from the initial idea through to the final commercial end use of any new medical product.

How best to protect the value of your idea depends on your own unique situation, and evolves across time; typically, it may include filing patents to protect the inventive concept, trade marks to protect the brand and trading name, and registered designs to protect the shape and appearance of the medical device. 

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Intellectual property value in medtech an innovation journey 800x748
Intellectual property value in medtech - an innovation journey
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