Make your medical product ideas come to life: More about intellectual property (IP)

Patients benefit from medical innovations. I mean, that is the purpose behind introducing new treatment methods—to help patients in a way not previously available. Bringing these innovations to market typically requires significant amounts of money, from a few million, to a hundred million dollars and more. Medical startup companies are only able to raise the funding they need because their investors believe they can make more money with them than through some other investment. And the investors need to believe that their medical startup can offer patients something that no one else can. Investors like to know their money is “protected” by one or more strong patents. Except, it is not that simple.

Selected patents, despite the fact that they do not infringe one another—in other words, they are each novel and non-obvious in the eyes of the patent office—can ultimately offer the exact same benefit to the patient. What am I saying? Think, for a moment, about stem cell and growth factor patents. Treating a nonunion fracture with mesenchymal stem cells harvested from bone marrow (represented by patent “A”), or with adipose derived stem cells (represented by patent “B”) or with a form of bone morphogenetic protein (patent “C”) might all result in the same improvement for the patient. Yet, patents A, B and C do not infringe one another. So, what were the investors thinking?
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