OBI MEDICAL: Patents and trademarks ensure a favorable market position and financial advantages

Today hospital patients around the world have to undergo a complicated and painful arterial blood gas (ABG) test in order to measure the amount of for example acidity, oxygen and CO2 in their blood. However, the pharmaceuticals company OBI Medical from Hadsund has now made it its mission to change this procedure.

Together with a scientist from Aalborg Universitet they have developed a new ground-breaking technology called v-TAC®, which the company is well under way to introducing to both the Danish market and several other European markets.

The new technology makes it possible to measure arterial blood gasses in a regular blood sample and is fully compatible with the hospitals’ existing blood gas equipment. The technology provides obvious benefits for the patients and it simultaneously makes the taking of blood samples more efficient, so that clinical personnel can save both time and resources every day.

IP consultants from Plougmann Vingtoft have helped OBI Medical apply for a patent and trademark registration on the idea behind v-TAC®.

Nobody wants to invest in unprotected ideas

From the beginning Bjarne Flou, CEO of OBI Medical, has been aware of the importance of protecting his product and brand against plagiarism, and states: “When you as a startup company need to attract capital, it is a premise that the idea and product is protected through a patent and/or trademark registration. The investors simply demand it. That is why it has been crucial for us to have had professional consultants on board right from the very beginning.”

Because of the money from the investors, whom include Vækstfonden, Innovationsfonden and Markedsmodningsfonden, OBI Medical has been able to initiate a commercial launch of their unique technology. This has been of paramount importance, as it has taken hard work and a lot of investments to convince both doctors and hospitals of the product’s obvious benefits.

Freedom to operate analyses create financial security and assurance

To avoid wasting unnecessary resources in launching a product that is already available on the market, OBI Medical invested in a so-called freedom to operate analysis, which was carried out by IP experts from Plougmann Vingtoft. The analysis mapped out whether the company’s product and idea was at the risk of infringing other rights holders. “If your company suddenly receives a huge bill, because you have infringed the patent or trademark of another proprietor, it can cause a substantial financial setback and in a worst case scenario the company may go bankrupt,” warns Bjarne Flou.

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Peter Sørensen from Plougmann Vingtoft, whom has worked as a consultant for OBI Medical in this matter, elaborates: “A freedom to operate analysis is about exposing a [potential] risk of something going wrong in the process, including if competitors are holding the dominant rights to one’s own product. Unfortunately, a lot of Danish companies do not analyze such risks, before they begin developing or marketing a product, even though it is actually possible to uncover at least some of those risks for minimal resources, for example by taking a good look at what patent rights the competition holds.”

The CEO of OBI Medical has great expectations to the results that the company is going to reach in 2016. The goal is for v-TAC® to be taken into use at hospitals in Denmark and a number of other Northern European countries, such as Germany, England and Norway. And with a patent and trademark registration well-established the road has been paved for a definite breakthrough on the European continent.

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