As technology advances, software plays an increasingly important role in medical innovation. Software now powers everything from smart surgical instruments that combine cutting edge hardware with next generation analytics and controls to complex analytical and diagnostic platforms. Software drives the modern economy and the medical industry is no exception.
In the medical field, software often integrates with innovative hardware. These hybrid hardware/software inventions are often much easier to protect than pure software inventions. But software alone can be patentable. The key is to direct the scope of the patent application to something more than simply an abstract idea. It takes experience and skill to navigate the complex field of software patents and RPL has the tools to help your business in this space.
Software patents are nearly exclusively filed as utility patents, but there are rare instances in which design patents are used to protect user interfaces or displayed designs within a software platform. Working with a patent attorney that has experience in the software field can help you quickly focus on the key protectable innovations and help you find the best strategies for patenting your medical software.
Trade secrets play a significant role in medical software protection. Any confidential aspects of your innovation that cannot be reverse engineered by your competition can be protected as trade secrets. The key is to simply keep your confidential IP a secret. Non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality provisions are important tactics in establishing trade secrets. But it is important to discuss your trade secret strategy with an experienced IP attorney that can help you distinguish between your patents and your trade secrets.
Copyrights protect the software code itself. While not as broad of protection as a patent, a copyright registration can help combat piracy and prevent copycats from piggy-backing on your code. Working with an experienced IP attorney can help you take the proper steps to secure copyright registrations for your innovative medical software.
As with any product, trademarks play an important role in your IP portfolio. The software’s name is an essential element of branding and marketing, but it is also a potential infringement risk. Trademark searching is an important tool to assess the infringement risk when launching your software product. Trademark searching is also helpful when establishing a software product or brand name to ensure it is distinct and not confusingly similar to other names in the space so it may be registered as a trademark itself.
RPL’s attorneys have a strong background in software IP protection. RPL’s managing attorney, Patrick Richards has written, licensed, and enforced software patents his entire career. In addition, Patrick is a co-founder and chief strategy officer of Resonance Medical, LLC, a health-tech company developing software for neuromodulation and other sensory enhancing devices. Since Patrick started RPL in 2009, the software industry has been RPL’s busiest practice with some of its biggest successes.
RPL attorneys have deep experience with and interest in medical device innovation, whether mechanical, electrical, software, or combinations of all.
RPL helps businesses protect their medical software using patents, trademarks, copyright, and trade secrets, licenses and more.
RPL attorneys patent and trademark surgical instruments, use trade secrets to further protect the IP, as well as license and sell these IP rights.
RPL is experienced in protecting telemedicine IP including telecommunication systems, IT, including systems leveraging big data and machine learning.