IP Considerations relating to digital health and data

23/11/2021

Digital health is an area that has been growing rapidly over recent years and is transforming the healthcare industry.  Advances in technology have been revolutionising the medical industry, with digital health products at the forefront of these changes.  An advantage of digital health is that it can make healthcare services accessible to more people, for example, allowing doctors to monitor patients remotely.  This is particularly beneficial in view of the COVID pandemic.  In addition, patients can monitor aspects of their health and fitness using digital health devices.

It is important for companies that are innovating in the digital health industry to consider the use of Intellectual Property (IP) in order to protect their ideas.  The areas of IP that may be used to provide protection for digital health products are patents, designs, trade marks, copyright and database right.  In addition, companies operating in this space should look at the IP landscape of other companies working in this field to try to ensure that they are free to develop their products without infringing third party IP rights.

Digital health products often collect and store data which may be transmitted to a healthcare professional or a hospital.  An important question here is who owns the data and what rights arise in respect of that data.  For example, the data stored in a database may be protected under the law of copyright and the rules that apply in relation to databases; and/ or under the UK Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997.  Other questions to consider are whether the data is confidential and whether contracts should be put in place to establish the ownership and/ or use of that data.

Fiona Kellas will be speaking on a panel at the Scotsman Life Sciences Conference on the topic “Data: The Holy Grail of Health Innovation” on 02 December 2021.  Fiona is UK and European Patent Attorney within the firm Maucher Jenkins.  Maucher Jenkins is a full service IP firm with offices in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and China.  Fiona has significant experience of providing IP advice within the medtech sector, including in the area of digital health.  For more information, please contact Fiona (fiona.kellas@maucherjenkins.com)

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