To Patent or Not to Patent - That is the Question!

Pop quiz: What percentage of U.S. patents is litigated?

A- 1 to 2 percent
B- 3 to 10 percent
C- more than 10 percent

The right answer: A

With such a tiny proportion of patents enforced in court, why should entrepreneurs even bother patenting? But, in fact, for startups, the reasons to acquire patents have little to do with enforcement. Rather, patents play a critical role in signifying the ownership of something proprietary. It is this factor that helps startups secure capital and compete in the marketplace.

Great reminder from our friend Vic Lin over at Innovation Capital the value of a good patent.  The attributes are even more important when we consider the medical device industry and the value a protected idea/concept provides in fundraising or divestment.

Follow our friend Vic Lin @myipattorney and his company @icaplaw


Medical 3-D Printing- The Future?

In a recent report from Gartner, a company specialized in identifying trends in technologies has applied their Hyper Cycle model to determined that 3D printing for medical devices has entered a critical next phase in its lifecycle.

As you can see from the above chart which depicts the Hyper Cycle life span, 3D printed devices have hit their Peak of Inflated Expectations, which means broader applications are close at hand (2-5 Years).

Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner, says of the 3D Printing Hype Cycle, “In the healthcare industry, 3DP is already in mainstream use to produce medical items that need to be tailored to individuals, such as hearing aids and dental devices.”
“All of the major hearing aid manufacturers now offer devices that are personalized to the shape of the customer’s ear. This is evidence that using 3DP for mass customization of consumer goods is now viable, especially given that the transition from traditional manufacturing in this market took less than two years. Routine use of 3DP for dental implants is also not far from this level of market maturity.”

It is clear that 3D printed devices continue to evolve, however it is unclear exactly how these changes will effect the established business models.  Though the current focus is primarily on 3 area for 3D printed technologies (External Devices, Clinical Study Devices and Surface Texturing Implants, Source: ) the future is still unwritten to how far the new manufacturing methods can push the standards of care.  From additive metal manufacturing methods to 3D printing of biologic materials, the future continues to evolve and it is critical as we envision the future of health care that these unique technologies are included in the way we think about the solutions.

Growth Operative Word in Orthopedics

Growth still the Operative word with Worldwide Orthopedic sales to Exceed 54B by 2018

With the years of uncertainty a not too distant memory the Orthopedic industry is still posed for growth worldwide.  Though the growth varies from segment to segment overall the trend is strong growth in key areas as companies maneuver to find a foot hold or to reposition to fill the worldwide demand.

The Orthopaedic Industry Annual Report ( for 2013 covers a wide range of activity but includes 5 year worldwide market projections.

"Bold tactical maneuvers such as mergers, acquisitions, globalization, portfolio expansion, lower-cost manufacturing, direct distribution, consolidation and workforce restructuring will continue to breed continued market growth into the foreseeable future," commented Carolyn LaWell, Content Manager for ORTHOWORLD.

Though spine will be stable and show minimal growth, other areas of fracture repair, extremities, arthroscopy and soft tissue repair will see potential double digit growth estimated at near 12%.

Over all good signs for the industry and a shift from uncertainty to a positive uptick is sure to mean more opportunities for innovation and unique solutions- to a growing global demand.