Innovation is something that defines the biosciences sector.
The UK biotechnology and medical industries are among some of the most progressive in the world with billions invested annually on creating industry-leading drugs, techniques, therapies, and technology which transcend expectation.
Intellectual property and innovation are inextricably linked. When you patent a product or other technology, you unlock the commercial potential of a ground-breaking innovation.
But without safeguarding the rights to your innovations through an effective intellectual property strategy, your product or technology could be copied, and others could take advantage of your investment.
Wynne-Jones IP partner Jim Robertson said protecting products and technologies in this field was “crucial” in order to safeguard the future of innovation and research.
He said: “Nowhere is an efficient and targeted plan more productive than in the biotech industry, particularly in protecting the rights of medical researchers and firms involved in developing the latest industry-leading drugs, therapies, medical devices and related technologies.
“These transformative creations not only have an intellectual value, which could enhance the care of millions of people across the world, but also a commercial value, which is realised when the products and technologies are used and taken to market.”
However, the whole area of IP can be a confusing minefield for innovators because it is presided over by a niche legal profession, it’s a specialised business area and, by its very nature, intangible.
Jim continues: “Every day we meet business leaders, even those from large, innovation-rich companies, who are confused about IP. We regularly hear them say, “What is IP?” or “How do we manage IP? How can we make IP contribute to the bottom line?” or “How much money should I spend on it?”.
“To help demystify IP and bring to life how a robust IP strategy can not only protect but grow innovative companies within the sector, we’re sharing how our work is supporting a company that develops and commercialises products to improve the safety, efficiency and outcomes of advanced surgical procedures.”
Alesi Surgical is a company that has developed Ultravision™ – a new and innovative product that clears surgical smoke from a surgeon’s view during laparoscopic surgery and prevents its escape into the operating theatre.
Why they needed IP protection?
Ultravision™ is based on an electrostatic precipitation technique, which is unique to Alesi, and is highly effective at removing airborne particles.
Due to the innovative nature of the technique, Alesi engaged Wynne-Jones IP to help them protect their product to ensure the concept has commercial longevity.
For Alesi, like many other companies in the life sciences and technology sector, patent protection helps create a commercial niche for Ultravision™ which is useful when it comes to securing important funding for the company’s continuing research and development, in addition to the principal right which enables Alesi to prevent unauthorised exploitation of the invention.
How Wynne-Jones IP helped?
Wynne-Jones IP identified the core technology and techniques required to exploit the benefits of the invention and sought to protect this technology. We submitted several patent applications to protect various aspects of the technology, including a patent application for the generic concept, another for a compact handheld embodiment, and an application directed to the electrical circuitry utilised by the technology.
As patents are territorial, we also worked with Alesi to help them identify the key territories where they should look to protect their technology and thus file respective patent applications. We have long established and trusted relations with a network of associates around the globe, whom we use when filing patent applications overseas. It is important to exploit the local knowledge of our associates, since different patent jurisdictions have their own nuances, which must be considered when filing the respective application, in order to optimise the protection achievable in those jurisdictions.
What has it meant for Alesi Surgical?
The patent applications filed by Wynne-Jones IP, which were directed to the generic concept of Ultravision™, have now been granted in the majority of countries and these patents can remain in force for up to 20 years, provided so-called renewal fees are paid to the national patent offices.
Wynne-Jones IP will continue to file patent applications for Alesi as there is no upper limit to the number of patent applications which can be filed by one company. However, it is important to remember that once a patent application has been published, it can be used as “prior art” against any subsequent patent applications, including those filed by the same company.
In addition, any prior disclosure of an invention may count as “prior art” against any patent application you decide to file for that invention, so you should keep your inventions secret until you have filed the respective patent application.
As attorneys for Alesi, we regularly have meetings and tailor the patent protection to align with their current business direction, which may change due to research and development. Patents are there to protect their commercial niche, so it is important to continue submitting applications for any developments in the technologies to ensure Alesi has commercial longevity.
It is imperative that the biosciences industry recognises the importance of adopting effective intellectual property strategies, which can evolve with the development of world-leading products. Partnering up with your IP attorneys can make a huge difference.
Our commercially focussed attorneys are experienced at developing IP strategies which are linked to business goals.
If you’re interested in seeing how your business could benefit from a robust IP strategy or think your IP could work harder for your business, we’re happy to arrange a no-obligation initial consultation.