Even as they rapidly innovate to fight the coronavirus pandemic, medtech companies need to stop IP theft. Here are the basics.
David J. Dykeman, Greenberg TraurigMedtech companies are at the forefront of innovation, and that has never been more evident than in the industry’s response to COVID-19. The healthcare research and development (R&D) engine is in high gear to create innovative products for hospitals to treat patients. Medtech companies are bringing new diagnostic tests, ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) to market in record time.
The increase in R&D reflects the fast pace of innovation seen across the entire healthcare industry, from digital health, to medical equipment, to diagnostics and drug delivery systems. Medtech areas poised for growth include medical robotics, artificial intelligence and combination products that combine devices and drugs.
Medtech IP theft
In an industry so heavily dependent on costly R&D, medtech companies need to take every precaution to safeguard their innovations against intellectual property (IP) theft. The potential losses are far from trivial: The National Bureau of Asian Research, for example, estimates that IP theft costs U.S. companies over $300 billion per year.
IP theft comes in many forms including counterfeiting, patent infringements, piracy, corporate espionage, cyberattacks, and the misappropriation of trade secrets, product designs or manufacturing processes. Whether entering a new market, improving existing products or expanding distribution networks, IP theft concerns are ever present.
The stakes are high. IP theft leads to competitive products that often bypass the costs of R&D. The competing products erode market share and cost the innovator sales and potentially millions in lost revenue.
To combat “IP thieves,” medtech innovators need to think broadly about ways to protect their IP in order to maintain a competitive advantage and prevent inferior medical products from entering the market. This article discusses five strategies to prevent IP theft, including both opportunistic and targeted IP theft.