Product Development
April 2, 2021

What Are Your Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property laws are what allow you to claim ownership over your own creations and designs. Here’s a quick introductory course for medtech developers.
Intellectual property laws are what allow you to claim ownership over your own creations and designs. Here’s a quick introductory course for medtech developers.

It’s an unfortunate fact that, in their rush to get to market, many aspiring medtech developers forget to protect their intellectual property and wind up with the short end of the stick. It can be easy to mix up trademarks, copyrights, patents, and their various requirements and legal specifics, but understanding the difference helps you protect yourself from intellectual property theft. Here’s everything you need to know.

What Is Intellectual Property?

“Intellectual property” refers to any creation of the human mind. This definition is quite broad and encompasses a wide range of items, from art and creative work to inventions, trademarks, and more. There are four main types of intellectual property: trade secrets, patents, copyrights, and trademarks.

Trade Secrets

This category includes confidential, sensitive, or proprietary information that gives a business a competitive or strategic advantage in its market. Trade secrets are the sort of information you don’t want falling into competitors’ hands — processes, inventions, strategies, or even software — because they could then use it to their own advantage.  

Trade secrets are legally protected without official registration, preventing others from copying or stealing an idea. However, gaining these protections requires companies to be able to demonstrate that they are taking adequate measures and precautions to ensure that the information remains protected and secure. If someone should happen to acquire a trade secret, the original owner is entitled to ask a court to prevent that person from using that information in any capacity.


Patents provide the owner protection for an invention or discovery for a 20-year period, preventing anyone else from producing, using, or selling the product without express permission. Once the 20-year period expires, anyone can make use of the product as they see fit.

To meet the conditions for a patent, the invention must offer something that is new, non-obvious, and useful. Patent intellectual property rights, therefore, extend to things like machines, processes, manufacturable items, and other innovations.


Copyrights and patents occasionally get mixed up, but they differ in one key way. Whereas patents protect inventions and discoveries from intellectual property theft, copyrights extend protection to original works that have been authored in some way, such as artwork and other forms of creative expression. Like patents, copyrights eventually expire, though rights remain with the author’s estate or beneficiaries for 70 years after their death.

While copyright protections apply automatically once the work is created, we recommend that you formally register your copyright. This allows you to file a lawsuit in the event that someone infringes upon your intellectual property.


Trademarks protect phrases, unique words, symbols, and other iconography that distinguishes one product, brand, or service from another. The swoosh and the phrase “Just Do It” are both instantly recognizable, yet neither actually mentions the name Nike — that’s the power of a trademark. Unlike patents and copyrights, trademarks can be held indefinitely.

Protecting Against Intellectual Property Violation

Protecting intellectual property rights is important for a number of reasons. Inventors and medtech developers pour a lot of time, energy, and finances into their work, and intellectual property is critical to establishing thriving markets where innovation and competition help drive progress. To encourage more innovation, intellectual property needs to be protected. Here are some tips for doing so:

  • Register your innovations: Whether you apply for a patent, copyright, or trademark, doing so early on saves you the hassle of proving that you’re the original inventor of your medical device. This also gives you more leverage should an issue go to court.
  • Create confidentiality agreements:  Product development doesn’t happen in a vacuum — in many cases, you’ll have partners who may need access to your knowledge or trade secrets. In order to keep your intellectual property protected, confidentiality agreements should be used to make it clear to all parties involved precisely which information must be kept private under penalty of punishment.
  • Be smart about security!: In today’s highly digital world, it’s important to ensure that your IT systems are protected from hackers, sophisticated social engineering campaigns, and other cybersecurity threats. Depending on the sort of intellectual property you’re looking to protect, it may be wise to invest in physical security measures — locks, CCTV systems, etc. — to support your digital encryption and protection services.

Develop Your Products While Keeping Your Intellectual Property Secure

Your medical device idea is precious — don't forget that as you try to get your device to market! Unlike other medtech development manufacturers, Kentec Medical always puts you first and will do whatever it takes to make sure your intellectual property rights are protected. All conversations are privileged, we won't force you to relinquish control of your idea if you don't want to, and we’re happy to sign confidentiality agreements. We want to help you get your medical device to market as quickly as possible, but not at the expense of your comfort.

Kentec Medical believes that providing unmatched customer service is the secret ingredient to helping healthcare providers and medtech developers provide better patient experiences and health outcomes in hospitals across the globe. Contact us today to learn more.

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