Significance Of Intellectual Property In Health Sector

Jan 312019
Significance Of Intellectual Property In Health Sector


The growing progress of science and technology is leading us to a more comfortable and tech-savvy future. New technology saves time and energy, new software protect our privacy, and new medicines are saving thousands of lives every day. However, with growing inventions and newer ones in the pipeline, it is integral to safeguard the intellectual property of individuals. We’re all aware of how costly it can be to introduce a new medicine or tablet in the pharmaceutical sector today. The developmental stage of a new drug takes from about $500- 1000 million to start with. Moreover, the experimenting and running of the same happen to involve a lot of uncalculated and unforeseen risks. In such a scenario, one cannot afford to let their intellect and efforts go waste by letting their technology of manufacturing a particular medicine go public without any foolproof protection for their intellectual property. Generally, It is important for a pharmaceutical company to ensure adequate returns for the financial and human capital that they put in. One of the safest ways to get that reward is protecting their invention by registering a Patent which can be done with the intervention of patent agents and patent attorneys in India and across the globe.



Copyrights are basically a protective right for a person’s literary, dramatic, artistic, musical, cinematographic and/or sound recording rights. It protects works of literary nature and in health sector industries, it will come in handy for the protection of databases containing information of chemical structures and gene sequencing information for scientific research and development purposes. It will also include the protection from infringement the advertisement campaigns or other creative projects in media which a pharmaceutical company might venture in for the promotion of their product.

However, to avail the protection of the same via copyrights, you need to ensure that the work which you are claiming protection for has some degree of creativity and/or originality in them. This is the basic requirement for the subject matter to be protected under copyrights.


Trademarks are protective sheaths for products or services which make them stand out in a given market and helps differentiate the goods/services of one individual from those of the other. It helps establish recognition in the mind of the consumer and is important to separate an original product from its placebos. It protects distinctive and non-functional terms, designs that distinguish a product from its competitors.

For a company/manufacturer to avail trademark protection for their product, it is important to see where their product/service stands in the distinctiveness spectrum. The requirements of trademark protection need a product/service name to be anything but generic. Generic names can in no way be granted trademark protection. However, if your product/service name falls in the following categories, it will be granted protection under the ambit of trademarks:

  1. Descriptive names– names which straight away give away the quality of the product that it is representing. They are not distinctive per se but can acquire distinctiveness by prolonged use over time. For example- Windows
  2. Suggestive names– names which ‘suggest’ the type of product it represents but doesn’t do it right away, the consumer has to use her/his imagination to find that out. For example- Netflix, Airbus
  3. Arbitrary names– names which are very common but have no relation to the product which they represent. For example- Apple electronics.
  4. Fanciful names– names which are coined and do not exist in the dictionary. For example:  Nikon

Trademark will be a useful instrument for a healthcare company in the medicine manufacturing business and will safeguard the names they give to their medicines and will ensure protection against infringement in case another medicine company plans on earning profits by releasing or naming their medicines with names similar to that of the original medicine company. Deceptive similarity is a very popular tool used by people to cash upon the success of an already popular product by naming their substitute product similar to the original product.

Trademark licensing will also come in handy for any companies which might go into joint ventures with hospitals and will help decide the rights and duties of both the parties.


The most important part where hospitals, medicine manufacturers and others related to the health sector will constantly need the protection of intellectual property is protection of their inventions and formulations from getting into the hands of others who might try to imitate, reverse engineer or deceptively represent the already existing inventions as new and their own. In such a scenario, patents protect inventions, machines, compositions or improvements to existing inventions. One can get patent protection against infringement for surgical designs, surgical instruments, new medicines, improvements in existing medicines, or in the biotechnology sector for any new techniques that one might be working on.

Patent also helps control the acquisition, use, manipulation, protection and distribution of health care assets and information according to the inventor.  Getting a patent not only gives you an edge over competitive market, it also helps recover costs that you might have invested in the research and development of new medicines by rewarding high-profit returns. You can also earn additional profits by licensing or assigning your patent and getting lump-sum payments in return. You might also consider cross-licensing your patent with another company whose patent you might be interested in. Licensing will also help you get benefits in return for your patent in otherwise inaccessible markets, thereby generating more revenue for you.


You can also avail protection for your inventions as utility models. Utility models are short-term, petty or innovation patents which are basically smaller adaptations of existing products.


Information which might count as confidential in your business counts as a trade secret if it doesn’t exist in the public domain and has commercial value. For a information to be a trade secret, it is mandatory for the owner to have taken important steps to keep it a secret. You can protect various formulations and compositions of medicines and drugs by keeping it under a trade secret.


Various designs of medical equipment and other machines can get intellectual property protection by getting them registered as industrial designs. However, in order to claim the same, the said equipment or machine must contain aesthetic or ornamental features and must qualify for other necessary criteria.

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