Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the annual Wired Health conference, where some of the latest digital health technologies and innovative start-ups were on show. On a first note, it was great to be attending an in-person event again, and thus being able to talk face-to-face with some inspiring and passionate people about how the digital health industry is developing in the aftermath of the pandemic.
One thing that became immediately apparent was that the Women’s Health technology industry is thriving. According to a recent report from McKinsey & Co the size of the industry is currently estimated to be in the range of $500million to $1billion, and is forecast for rapid growth over the coming years.
Among the exhibitors and speakers at Wired Health this year were a number of impressive Women’s Health tech Start-Ups, such as:
- Daye – a gynae health R&D company who have developed multiple products, including a novel CBD-infused tampon that sooths abdominal cramps.
- Elvie – a health and lifestyle brand who created, and patented, the world’s first silently-operating wearable breast pump.
- Hormona – A data-driven company aiming to utilise at-home monitoring of hormone levels to allow women to gain a better understanding of their menstrual cycle.
As reported by McKinsey & Co, the majority of ‘FemTech’ companies are currently concentrated in the areas of maternal health patient support, consumer menstrual products, gynaecological devices, and fertility products. However, expectations are that as this industry grows, the significant remaining white space will soon become populated.
The rapid growth in market size is reflected in the patent filing statistics. I have taken a look at patent filings within a selection of relevant classifications over the ten year period between 2010 and 2020, with a particular focus on European (EP), UK (GB), and International applications (WO). The results are shown below.
The data shows rapid growth in the total number of applications filed, particularly from 2006 onwards. The majority of applications were first filed as PCTs (international applications), with some additional direct-filings in Europe and the United Kingdom.
From a patent perspective, in an increasingly-competitive industry seeing such rapid growth and innovation, the need for companies to protect their IP is strong. This can be particularly true for Start-Up companies, who use patents not just as a means to protect their products but also as an important tool for securing vital investment.
In an industry that has historically been under-funded, or overlooked altogether, it is promising to see some pioneering companies leading the charge.
At Reddie & Grose LLP, we can provide a flexible approach to IP advice. Rather than offering a “one size fits all” service, we tailor our advice to meet the specific needs of our clients, be they multi-national corporations, or young Start-Ups. If you are in need of advice, please get in touch with one of our attorneys.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.