Innovation by nature requires the sharing of ideas, inspiration and information. It also thrives on open two way discussions and debates. Whereas patents by nature protect organisations pockets and stop the flow of information.
We understand that innovators and innovative companies need to gain recognition for their products and services and cover their research and development costs. However Docmate is all about innovation and moving the healthcare industry forward therefore we are not fans of patents. We think they do more harm than good.
Orion Armon, Partner at Cooley LLP, reports on Mobi Health News, that until now, the mobile health industry has experienced relatively few patent restrictions and conflicts. However he warns this peace may soon be disrupted as companies in the medical device, computer, networking, and communications industries are all patenting in the mobile health space.
The likely result Armon predicts is there will be a thicket of overlapping patents on mobile health products and their components. Already the number of mobile health patents issued by the Patent Office has increased incrementally from 2000 and it is predicted to continue to surge until at least 2014.
As this thicket grows, patent infringement conflicts will also grow, particularly as mobile health technologies mature and winners within the industry emerge. Armon, provides some tips for mobile health companies can manage patent infringement risk as follows:
- If you have never been sued, consider purchasing insurance;
- Properly structure IP indemnification rights and obligations;
- Build-out your patent portfolio—even ancillary improvements in the mHealth space may become critical if they are widely adopted by your competitors;
- Streamline your internal invention disclosure, review, and patent filing processes, and where appropriate, use the USPTO’s Track 1 process to accelerate examination of key patent applications;
- Monitor competitors’ patent filings and patent portfolios, and consider making pre-issuance submissions of prior art during prosecution of competitors’ patents;
- Proactively cross-license patents with key IP owners to expand your freedom to operate—or utilize commodity components from major companies who will indemnify you for their use; and
- If competitors are infringing, consider enforcing your patents before your competitors’ patent portfolios mature.
Armon, Orion. 2012. Is mobile health about to enter a patent thicket? Retrieved 15 November 2012 from http://mobihealthnews.com/10-23-12-analysis-mhealths-patent- thicket-topol-leaves-west/