How Has The IPR In The Health-Tech Industry Boomed Since Covid-19?

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The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted various sectors, and the health-Tech industry has experienced its fair share of challenges and transformations.
India Intellectual Property
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The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted various sectors, and the health-Tech industry has experienced its fair share of challenges and transformations. In this informative blog post, we will delve into how the pandemic has reshaped the landscape of intellectual property rights (IPR) within the health-Tech industry. From the rise of innovative solutions to patent battles, collaboration, and accelerated innovation, we will explore the various aspects of IPR that have helped Health-tech to grow significantly.

The Rise of Innovative Solutions:

Before the pandemic happened, the healthcare sector stuck to traditional methods and equipment. The advancements in the Health-tech sector were limited to a few pieces of digitalized equipment that was hardly available on a global scale. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of HealthTech in many ways. Telehealth, virtual care, digital therapeutics, AI-powered diagnostics, and mRNA vaccines are just a few of the advancements that have been made. These advancements have the potential to improve the delivery of healthcare and make it more accessible to people around the world.

Some of the health-tech companies that have made significant advancements during the pandemic include Teladoc Health, Amwell, Livongo Health, Ginger, Pear Therapeutics, Omada Health, Google Health, Babylon Health, AliveCor, Verily, Moderna, BioNTech, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson etc. In addition to these well-known startups, there are also a number of smaller startups that have made significant contributions to the field of health-tech. These include CureFit (India), Practo (India), HealthifyMe (India), Neat Health (US), and Oscar Health (US).

This rapid adoption of digital health technologies led to a surge in patent applications within the health-tech sector. In 2020, as per World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reports, there was a notable 64% increase in patent filings related to TeleHealth and Digital Health Technologies, reflecting the industry's response to the changing healthcare landscape.

Patent Battles and Vaccine Development:

The race to develop COVID-19 vaccines brought forth intense competition among pharmaceutical companies. Protecting intellectual property rights became crucial, as companies sought to secure their advancements in vaccine development. This led to a surge in patent disputes and legal battles. By 2023, the World Trade Organization reported at least 90 patent disputes worldwide related to COVID-19 vaccines. These disputes encompassed various aspects, including vaccine production methods, licensing agreements, and allegations of patent infringement.

The patent disputes surrounding COVID-19 vaccines raised important questions about access to affordable vaccines and the sharing of scientific knowledge. Governments and global health organizations advocated for equitable access to vaccines and the sharing of vaccine-related technologies to ensure widespread immunization and curb the spread of the virus.

How did IPR help the Health-tech industry?

IPR helped the health-Tech industry during COVID-19 by protecting innovative technologies, facilitating collaboration, and ensuring public access to safe and effective products. Overall, IPR played a significant role in the development and commercialization of HealthTech solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. It helped to protect innovative technologies, facilitate collaboration, and ensure that the public had access to safe and effective products.

For example, Moderna and BioNTech were able to patent their mRNA vaccines, which helped to accelerate the development of these life-saving products. Babylon Health was able to copyright its app that uses AI to diagnose diseases, which helped to make this technology more widely available. And AliveCor was able to trademark its heart rate monitor, which helped to distinguish its product from its competitors. Likewise, Gilead Sciences, CureVac, and Verily all used different IPR tools to protect their investments in innovative COVID-19 technologies. This ensured that the public had access to safe and effective products, while also facilitating collaboration between companies.

The Power of Collaboration:

The pandemic highlighted the importance of collaboration in addressing global health challenges. In the face of a common enemy, HealthTech companies recognized the need to set aside traditional rivalries and work together to tackle the crisis. This collaborative approach extended beyond individual companies and involved partnerships between industry players, research institutions, and governments.

Open licensing models and technology-sharing initiatives gained prominence as companies understood that collaboration and collective innovation were essential in overcoming the pandemic's challenges. The Open COVID Pledge emerged as a significant initiative, encouraging organizations to voluntarily share their intellectual property rights related to COVID-19 technologies. Over 300 organizations worldwide pledged their support, facilitating knowledge sharing and enabling the development of critical healthcare solutions.

Collaboration also played a vital role in addressing the global shortage of medical supplies during the pandemic. Companies from various sectors collaborated to ramp up the production of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other essential medical devices. The joint efforts ensured a more coordinated response to the supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic.

How did the pandemic accelerate patent filing?

The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for innovation within the health-Tech industry. Startups and established players alike pivoted their business models, adapting to the changing needs of healthcare delivery. Remote patient care solutions, contact tracing technologies, and efficient vaccine distribution systems emerged as critical areas of focus.

The urgency of the pandemic compelled Healthtech companies to expedite their innovation processes. This resulted in an approximately 11% increase in patent applications in medical technology, including Healthtech, in 2020 compared to the previous year as per reports of the European Patent Office. The surge in patent filings reflected the industry's determination to deliver impactful solutions to combat the spread of the virus, improve patient care, and enhance healthcare infrastructure.

Furthermore, the pandemic highlighted the significance of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and telehealth. These technologies played a crucial role in diagnosing, monitoring, and managing COVID-19 cases. The accelerated innovation also extended to vaccine development, where groundbreaking research and development efforts led to the successful creation of multiple effective vaccines within record time.

What is the future of health-tech?

1. The future of health-tech is promising, driven by increasing demand stemming from factors like population growth, rising chronic diseases, and healthcare cost escalation.

2. Health-tech solutions offer personalized, proactive, and patient-centric healthcare experiences, improving access, affordability, and efficiency of services which is going to attract more customer base to such products and services.

3. Intellectual property (IP) protection, including patents and trademarks, incentivizes innovation by safeguarding investments and granting market exclusivity is going to be the top priority of every company.

4. IP protection will enable companies to commercialize their health-tech innovations, attract investment, and drive further advancements in the industry etc.

5. Collaborations and partnerships in the health-tech sector are going to be facilitated by IP, fostering the integration of technologies and the development of comprehensive healthcare solutions.

6. Striking a balance between IP protection and accessibility is gaining importance and ensuring that the benefits of health-tech innovations reach a wider population and address global healthcare challenges effectively should be the main focus.

How can Photon Legal help?

With our expertise in intellectual property law, Photon Legal provides tailored solutions to protect your intellectual property rights (IPR). Our strategic counselling helps you develop robust IP strategies that align with your business objectives and maximize the value of your intellectual property portfolio. We also provide educational resources and workshops to empower you with knowledge and awareness of IP protection best practices.


The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for the health-tech industry, but it has also spurred remarkable innovation and collaboration. From the rise of innovative solutions to patent battles, collaboration, and accelerated innovation, the health tech industry has demonstrated resilience and adaptability. As we navigate the post-pandemic world, it is crucial to continue leveraging Intellectual Property Rights to drive advancements in healthcare and ensure access to essential technologies for the betterment of global health.

By embracing a collaborative and innovative mindset, the HealthTech industry can shape a future that prioritizes efficient healthcare delivery, equitable access to medical technologies, and improved patient outcomes. The lessons learned from navigating the impact of the pandemic on IPR will continue to guide the health-tech industry towards a brighter and more resilient future.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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