Innovation hub

Intellectual Property

Understanding Intellectual Property is important to protect new ideas on their journey to the healthcare marketplace. DigitalHealth.London can provide information, contacts, and resources that will help you during this process.

In the first instance, innovators from universities and NHS organisations should contact their local technology transfer team or commercial department.

The Intellectual Property Office provides advice and guidance on all forms of Intellectual Property and how to apply for protection.


Intellectual Property advice from Julian Hitchcock, Intellectual Property and Regulatory Lawyer at Denoon Legal

Defining aspects of Intellectual Property landscape for health tech:

  • Absence of patent protection for software in the EU including UK (unless some form of technical effect, but this is not straightforward).
  • Software is deemed to be a literary work therefore can be protected by copyright. However there is a problem in that a literary loophole exists whereby you can change the code slightly, even if the function is the same.
  • There is a rich licensing environment around databases. Be sure you are using databases lawfully.
  • Common pitfalls:
  • Hubris. Energy is a good thing, but be realistic.
  • Open source software. Using open source software may restrict your ability to commercialise. Check the Ts & Cs.
  • Ownership of copyright in code. The author of the code is the owner of the copyright. Be sure to get an assignment from the software developers, this can be a simple agreement in writing.


Top tips:

  • Confidentiality is key. Have non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in place.
  • Do an FTO. A thorough FTO (freedom to operate) is of huge value to investors.
  • Know the regulatory route to market. Be compliant with regulations from the start.



Watch Regulation webinar

Listen to Intellectual Property podcast