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Patent Protection of Medical Inventions, Medical Engineering and Medical Devices as well as Cosmetics in Europe and Germany

General Information

Medical treatments, diagnoses and therapies can generally not be protected by a patent in Europe and Germany if they are practised on the human or animal body. Such provision shall ensure that doctors and surgeons are not restricted by patent claims when treating patients. Apparatus, devices, substances or compositions used during medical treatment, surgery, diagnosis and therapy can be protected by a patent.

Medical Apparatus and Medical Devices

Apparatus for medical diagnosis or therapy can be protected by a patent. Examples comprise endoscopes, medical lasers, skin treatment devices, operation navigation systems, surgical tools, imaging diagnosis apparatus and the like. Further, function supporting and structure supporting devices introduced temporarily or over a longer period into the body can be protected by a patent, for example implants, prosthesis, bone screws, stents, shunts etc. Moreover, medical appliances for treatment or diagnosis can be protected by a patent, such as needles, syringes and orthopaedic appliances.

Diagnostic and Therapeutic Methods

A diagnostic method is generally protectable by a patent as long as it does not comprise an interaction with the human or animal body, or no medical decision (deductive medical decision phase). Examples are a technical methods for determining the optical defect of vision of the eye in the form of a wave front error or the concentration of a substance in the blood. Excluded from patentability is, for an example, a method determining a disease pattern.

Therapeutic methods and diagnostic methods performed outside the human or animal body can be generally protected by a patent.

Cosmetic Methods

Cosmetic methods can be protected in Europe and Germany under comparably narrow requirements, for an example, if a medical therapeutic application is impossible or not claimed.

Trademark Protection of the Name of the Medical Treatment

It is possible to protect the name of a medical treatment or therapy by a trademark, but not the treatment per se. A protection of the name of the treatment as trademark is possible, as long as the trademark has distinctive character and is not merely descriptive for the treatment.

Expertise

The area of practize covers inventions in the area of medicine and medical engineering for several years and there is an expertise in several fields of medical engineering.

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