I'd like to share something a little personal. I'm a Type 1 Diabetic, and I use a Continuous Glucose Monitoring system along with an insulin pump to help manage this. 

The image at the bottom of the screen shows an app screen that I look at regularly; it's not something I would usually share, as frankly, I've generally been embarrassed to show others how erratic my numbers can be. It shows what percentage of each day I have managed to keep my blood glucose (BG) level within my target range. I'm actually fairly adept at managing my condition, but it's far from easy to manage, as everything from food, stress and hormones to the weather can affect BG levels, so often I don't come close to being “in range” for 70% of the day.

Enter my new “closed-loop” insulin pump. This small bundle of MedTech excellence does everything my previous pump did, but it also works in the background to keep my BG levels steady, making insulin dosage adjustments based upon data from my CGM sensor; it increases or decreases the dosage using an in-built algorithm, to minimise how often my BG levels rise too high or fall too low. The only thing I really need to do is input the number of carbs I'm eating.

You can see from the image exactly when the algorithm arrived in my life. My BG levels have gone from an average of 70% in range over the previous 30 days to an average of 96% in the last few days. Even the “bad” day at only  86% was better than my third best day of the last month.

Why is this important? Because an increased time in range means a reduced chance of complications arising as a result of my condition, but on a day-to-day level it reduces stress and anxiety, it gives a little more freedom in choosing what and when I eat (welcome back into my life, chocolate!), and it allows me to get a full night's sleep without being woken by alarms telling me my BG levels are heading too high or low. It also means I should now spend far less days feeling unwell, because my BG levels will fluctuate less.

Of course, as a Trade Mark Attorney, I cannot just admire the innovation at my fingertips, and this leads me down a rabbit hole of IP “geekdom”!

There are a handful of other insulin pumps available that offer this kind of “reactive” operation, but it's the only one that does this in the specific way that it operates. Why? Because the various aspects of this MedTech system is protected by a bundle of patents, each covering a small feature of the overall physical product, its mechanical operation, and even operational elements of its algorithm. This means that no other provider can release a product featuring any one of those specific aspects, without it infringing the relevant patent. 

This is where the value of holding multiple “layers” of patents lies, in protecting seemingly small details of a product, but when viewed in combination, these form a web of rights that span the “current” product. Some or all of these patents may be relevant for later products, whilst new developments are likely to be covered by new patents filed in the meantime.

Meanwhile, on the trade mark side of things, the manufacturer has its name registered as a trade mark, as well as the name of its line of insulin pumps, plus the model name and various surrounding terms and imagery that are associated with it. Again, a web protecting various aspects of the product's branding. They also have some registered designs protecting the graphic user interfaces that appear on the screen of the product.

All of this adds up to a widely-cast net of protection, enabling this company to enforce their rights against any party who strays too close to its inventions, its branding and even the look of its GUIs, and to do so in various jurisdictions worldwide. It's clear that they have made significant investment in their IP strategy, and the strength this provides in the marketplace is invaluable.

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