This is part one of a series of articles that will present the three big issues in IP: Do you own it? Can you protect it? Do you have the freedom to practice it?
In this article, we will set the context and explore common issues involving that first question: Do you own it? Part one is published in the March 2014 edition of Endovascular Today, and the full version of the article is available here. A short teaser excerpt follows below.
We have no shortage of ideas for new medical devices. Many interventional vascular specialists have ideas for new devices or procedures, or ways to improve existing ones. There is no shortage of capital for good ideas either. The weak link in the innovation cycle is the randomness underlying the process by which the ideas, management, prototyping, intellectual property, and other foundational components connect with each other at the early stage. If you are like many inventors, you do not have an experienced coach to manage the process. You have a daytime job, maybe a family, and the path forward is uncertain. You are vaguely aware that unless you get a lot of unfamiliar issues right, the odds are low that you can create a package that will attract the people and capital necessary to proceed. So, it comes as no surprise that while a lot of physicians out in the field have clinically valuable inspirations within the scope of their expertise, only a few have a realistic way to connect the dots. The result is an unfortunate restraint on the pace of medical evolution. We lose ideas for the wrong reason, and promising therapies never reach the patient. We need to fix that. One of the most daunting of the early stage challenges is intellectual property (IP). Most people know that unless you get the IP right, the effort is either wounded or doomed to failure. But, at its core, there are only three fundamental issues that provide the structural framework for the byzantine statutory and jurisprudential rules that follow. If you want to succeed, it is valuable for you to understand that basic framework and consider involving experts to manage or help manage the complex details of the process.
The remainder of the article is available for download here. Stay tuned for part 2 and 3 of the series…