IP Protection for Medical Device Technology
Medical devices feature a wide variety of different types of technologies, often in combination. It is the combination of these technologies that often provide the greatest technical effect—and the greatest complexity. GAI is proficient in the numerous technologies as they apply to the field of medical devices, especially those combined in a single device or system.
Mechanical Engineering technology is used in medical devices, applying physics and materials science to mechanical problems. This technology is important for a wide range of medical devices, from orthopedic devices such as screws to complicated combinations of technologies that include mechanical aspects. Part of a "crowded field" in terms of patent applications, IP portfolios in this area need to be constructed carefully to avoid issues of non-patentability.
Medical devices rely on electronic components, alone or in combination with other technologies, and include miniaturization, micro-electronics, and nano-electronics and, among others. However, the use of electronic components significantly increases the technical complexity of the resultant device. There may be problems related to safety, power sources, protection of the device in the environment of the body andother factors. Such technical complexity may also provide significant IP advantages however, as solutions to these problems may be patentable. Interactions between electronic and non-electronic components are also important and may yield potential IP, for example device control, readouts from sensors and so forth. Thus, for building a strong IP portfolio, electronics in medical devices need to be considered separately and as part of the complete device.
Optics and Industrial Physics – this technological area is also increasing in importance for medical devices that include lasers for precise surgery, skin treatment, hair removal; specialized insertable lenses to improve eyesight; and various surgical instruments (endoscopes, laryngoscopes, laparoscopic devices). Frequently such components are used in combination with other types of technologies, such that building a strong IP portfolio involves protecting both the specific optical components but also the combination of such components with one or more other technologies.
Software can also be a medical device, or can form a component within a medical device. Software is frequently operated by a computer or other device in communication with a medical device to receive input for analysis, direct the functioning of the medical device and so forth. As a medical device (or as part of a medical device), software may be patentable as a stand-alone invention or as part of a larger system with multiple components. The IP laws and regulations governing software vary greatly between countries, more so than for any other type of medical device technology.I International experience is particularly important for protecting this area of technology.