IP in Healthcare


The use of Intellectual Property in the healthcare field is undergoing leaps and bounds of changes in the current decade. Genetic engineering, technological advances in healthcare, are all contributing to the key cornerstones for new developments in the future. Future developments and progression however rely on the novelty of the inventions of this era

Patent in Healthcare

Patenting in the healthcare sector mainly refers to pharmaceutical patents. Patents play a major key role in the aspects of innovation in the biotechnology sector and medical research, which directly affects the healthcare field. Protection of patent rights helps foster more incentives for the research and development (R&D) sector, thus, in turn, propelling innovation and production in healthcare. Pharmaceutical patents could be protected as-

● Drug compound patents

● Formulation or composition patents

● Synergistic combination Patents

● Technology patents

● Polymorph patents

● Biotechnology patents

● Process patents

However, the TRIPS agreement, to which India is a signatory, can waive off patent protection rights in the case of life-saving medication or operation procedures or other medical instruments and methods.

Trademark in Healthcare

Trademarks help distinguish healthcare and medicinal products from one enterprise to another. While filing for the trademark of any medical care, it is usually to be filed under Class 44. Medical care includes Medical services, veterinary services, hygienic and beauty care for human beings or animals, etc.

Trade secret in Healthcare

The TRIPS agreement in its article 39 grants and elaborates trade secrets. India is a signatory of the TRIPS agreement. India provides the protection of trade secrets for the protection of persons and enterprises on information, which is lawfully under the person’s or company’s control from being disclosed to, acquired by, or used by others without their consent.

There is no specific legislation protecting trade secrets in the industries as of yet, however, rights in respect of such are implemented through the India Contract Act, 1872.

Copyright in Healthcare

Trade secrets and copyright are other types of Intellectual Property that are not as prevalent in the healthcare industry but they still substantially persist. Copyrights are rights protecting creative and artistic works and use of such works may be used in the mental health field and some music is known to evoke a sense of calm and clarity. Companies in the healthcare sector may publish applications that use certain copyrighted material like music or speech. Furthermore, clinics and in-house facilities may use certain copyrighted ambient noises for their patients to benefit from. These music and talk therapy speeches may be purchased one time or licensed to be used by this sector.

This can be achieved through the assignment of copyright and licensing under Section 18 of the Copyright Amendment Act, 2012 and Section 30 of the Act of 1957, respectively.


The global healthcare spending is expected to exceed $10 Trillion by 2022, thus showing that the inventors are more informed than ever and have a keen interest in developing and protecting their Intellectual Properties.