A few weeks ago, the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) issued a decision on the extent to which computer-implemented simulations are patentable in Europe (previously reported here). The confirmation that computer-implemented simulations should be considered in the same way as any other computer-implemented process could be significant for the industry that filed more European patents than any other in 2020: Medical Technology.
Insights: Medical Devices & Digital Healthcare
Wearable technology has become increasingly prevalent in recent times – almost a third of UK consumers now own a fitness band or smartwatch – with adoption of these devices expected to continue to increase in the coming years. This blog take a look at three companies in the wearables industry – Garmin, Suunto, and Fitbit – their patent portfolios, and some of the IP-related challenges they have to face to ensure their products get protected.
With Artificial Intelligence becoming increasingly relevant to our daily lives, many inventors are looking to gain patent protection for their technology. As discussed in our previous insight here, there are extra considerations to bear in mind when seeking patent protection for an AI invention in Europe. However AI patent applications can be, and are being, granted at the European Patent Office.
Do you have an innovative or novel approach to clean ambulances quicker to help combat COVID-19? The UK Government is asking for your help. Currently it can take up to 45 minutes to clean ambulances once they have transported a patient suspected of having COVID-19. Rapid sanitising technology solutions are required to enable ambulances to be effectively decontaminated faster, so that they can return to service as quickly as possible.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a worldwide shortage of ventilators, and in the UK, the NHS is soon expected to require significantly more ventilators than are currently in circulation. As a result, on Monday 16th March, the UK government called for businesses to help make ventilators and ventilator components in an attempt to dramatically increase the number of ventilators available to the NHS in a matter of weeks. In response, both existing manufacturers of ventilators are increasing production and other manufacturing businesses are joining the effort.
Drug discovery is expensive. Computers are an important tool in combating this, because their computations can reduce the number of time-consuming physical tests needed. The use of computers in drug discovery is the subject of a great deal of research and we saw an example of this in the news last week when it was reported that a powerful new antibiotic had been discovered using artificial intelligence (see J. Stokes et al., “A Deep Learning Approach to Antibiotic Discovery”, Cell, vol. 180, no. 4, pp. 688-702.e13, 2020. Available: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.01.021, widely reported by the media).
The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) gave a timely seminar on Artificial Intelligence on 9th January 2020. The speakers for this seminar were the head and senior examiner of the data processing group at the UK IPO.There were no real surprises that for AI inventions to be patentable they must fit around the exclusions (set out in Section 1(2) of the UK Patents Act) as interpreted by the guidelines (see below). However, the UK Examiner’s did indicate how the nature and/or presentation of the AI invention could lead to very different results, stressing that for borderline cases they are keen to engage with applicants and listen to technical arguments for patentability.The seminar follows a report released by the UK IPO into inventions relating to Artificial Intelligence released last year. See here for our earlier report.
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a subsection of the more well-known Internet of Things. Broadly, the IoMT is a connected infrastructure of medical devices, software applications, and health systems and services. This infrastructure aims to improve accessibility of healthcare, while improving patient health and satisfaction with healthcare services. In 2016, it was predicted that by the year 2020, 40% of IoT technology will be health related1 (more than any other subsection). It has also been predicted that by 2022, the IoMT market will be worth roughly US$158 billion2, compared to a comparatively measly US$24 billion in 20163. We at Reddie & Grose have been closely following the progress of the IoMT which encompasses many rapidly advancing technologies and a number of potentially patentable areas.