Medical devices have become increasingly important in society given their impact on the health sector and also in the economy.

According to the European Commission, in 2007 the medical device and diagnostics industry employed 529,000 people across Europe. With total sales of €72.6 billion, representing 33% of world market share (€219 billion), it is the second largest market after the USA. Moreover, this sector includes almost 11,000 companies, of which 80% are SMEs. The Commission estimates that in 2007 these companies invested €5.8 billion in Research and Development (R&D) (i.e. 8% of total sales).

Intellectual property (IP) is essential to protect these investments and therefore SMEs in this sector cannot afford not to manage their IP well. With this in mind, the European IPR Helpdesk has published a new fact sheet on the IP considerations for medical devices, which was written by Arty Rajendra and Mary Smillie, solicitors at Rouse Legal.

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