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‘Alphafold 2’, an artificial intelligence tool for generating 3D models of proteins based on genomic datasets, was announced in November 2020 and hailed as one of the most ground-breaking scientific technologies of our time, allowing scientists to see how a protein...


By Ellie Purnell & Dr Andrew McGettrick 

Healthcare Scanner


Issue 1 - March 2021

Welcome to the HGF Healthcare Scanner which brings you the latest commentary and updates on intellectual property in the healthcare sector. In this issue we look at the significance of the DeepMind AI protein-folding breakthrough, provide guidance on claiming medical devices functionally in Europe and consider data protection issues for health apps. We also provide an overview of Brexit and regulatory changes, look at the UK SPC system and, to mark both the International Women in STEM Day and the International Women’s Day, we look at inspirational women innovators in the healthcare sector.

The European Patent Office has a well-established principle that methods of treatment by surgery or therapy are excluded from patentability. However, a recent decision, issued in 2019, casts doubt on the longstanding principle that only method claims, and...


By Elliot Stephens

The increasing popularity of digital health and lifestyle apps has been a major trend over recent years. These applications often rely on users’ personal data and are therefore subject to regulatory requirements, particularly Special Category data, that need to be...


By James Talbot & Michelle Davies

What does the flurry of the last minute Brexit deal mean for intellectual property (IP) and related regulatory protection for medicinal products and medical devices? How far is it more of the same, and how far do we have to wrestle with the new rules in our lives?


By Janet Knowles

The UK has formally exited the EU and the English Court now has the power to diverge from previously binding EU case law . Only the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal has this power and only if they consider it “right to do so”. One area that has been the subject...


By Rachel Fetches & Yael Shalem

The UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science is held on February 11, and aims to work towards ending gender imbalance in science. Here we look at recent female-led scientific advances in healthcare, and consider, if there really were no barriers for anyone to be a scientist...


By Dr Janine Swarbrick