Bioinformatics and Digital Health patents: A rapidly changing landscape

A recent study by IP firm Mewburn Ellis found the number of patents and applications published within the bioinformatics and digital health sectors has risen significantly over the last 10 years. This surge in computer-assisted healthcare IP protection, particularly in the US and China, suggests organisations need to adapt their IP strategies and ensure their inventions are protected within this rapidly evolving patent landscape.

The Mewburn Ellis report

Experts have widely thought that computer-assisted and data-driven inventions are now playing an important role in the healthcare sector. The report produced by Mewburn Ellis, based on patent publication data for the last 10 years, provides much more detailed insights into patenting trends in digital healthcare and bioinformatics. It found patenting in the digital health space is growing very quickly. For example, the number of patent publications in healthcare informatics rose from 7,000 in 2010 to more than 25,000 in 2010. Patent publications for computer-assisted diagnosis also increased over the same period from 2,500 to over 10,000.

The report also noticed a very sharp increase in the number of Chinese patents and applications published over the last five years. China jumped from being the jurisdiction with the second fewest publications in 2010 to the one with the highest in 2020. This data confirms that innovation and IP protection in this space are booming and new players from different jurisdictions are emerging all the time.

Top 10 jurisdictions by families, applications and grants across Bioinformatics, Healthcare Informatics, Computational Chemistry, Chemoinformatics, Computer-assisted Diagnosis, Medical Image Analysis, and Computer-assisted Therapy Delivery or Patient Monitoring Cooperative Patent Classification codes – Generated by V3 Analytics.

The importance of protecting innovations in Bioinformatics and Digital Health

The Mewburn Ellis report confirmed what many experts already suspected. The bioinformatics and digital health patent landscapes are rapidly changing. It is now more than ever paramount for organisations to understand the patenting activity within these sectors and protect their IP. Patents not only protect inventions and technology spaces but are also key when it comes to collaboration and licensing opportunities, as a company’s IP allows it to present what it is bringing to the table.

With such a diverse range of healthcare-focused companies, tech giants, engineering innovators, universities and start-ups operating in this space it is important to gain a comprehensive understanding of the key players and technologies. Minesoft’s PatBase and V3 Analytics allow organisations to gain valuable insights into patenting trends by performing quick and easy freedom-to-operate searches and analysing a technology landscape to help identify competitors and potential licensing opportunities.