For the sake of simplicity, we are going to refer to a variety of slightly different areas as 'BodyTech':
You can then have fun deciding on how to spell these categories. At Taylor Wessing, we've debated the various merits of bodytech, BodyTech, body-tech and so on (well, we are lawyers after all).
Such rapid technological advancement has created inevitable hurdles for the law, with potential to stifle development. If the law responds in an overly invasive manner, it risks impeding investment and inhibiting innovation. However, the privacy and general safety and security of users cannot be ignored and, therefore, balance in this area of law is crucial.
Within the EU, BodyTech is partially regulated in the areas of data protection and product safety. There is no specific law applying to BodyTech so these areas are covered under the GDPR and the Medical Device Regulation – but is that really sufficient?
Questions are also being raised regarding the scope of product liability where a healthtech product and/or related app malfunctions or delivers incorrect or inaccurate advice. To what extent can a consumer reasonably rely on the products/advice provided by healthtech product manufacturers and/or related app providers, and when are users expected to identify shortfalls in the offering and take the appropriate course of action for their individual purposes?
Software, electronics and innovative materials are currently being used to develop state-of-the-art, low cost, and more easily accessible prosthetics. However, this process tends to be complex, costly and laden with IP-related issues.
The technological advances in the medical and fitness industry to date have changed the way health services are perceived, provided and received. Whether you're a patient, provider or a budding entrepreneur, expect the landscape to continue evolving, creating an ever-more efficient and accessible platform to access health-related products and services.
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Every industry is affected by advances in technology including artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things. The medical and healthcare sectors are no exception, and digital health innovation is progressing at a rapid pace. The growing market of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)) and BodyTech/wearable devices is likely to have a significant impact on the product liability regime.
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The borderline between medical devices and wellbeing/lifestyle apps has become thinner with advances in technology and increased public demand for apps that track our physiological functions, remind us when to take medication or help to improve our health and wellbeing.
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When talking about developments in medical research and treatment it has become customary to hear expressions such as "break-through", "revolution", "new paradigm" and "game-changer". Indeed, from the post-war generation onwards, the developed world has been treated to a series of advances in medical technology.
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As with all areas of medical technology, where there is innovation, then regulation and intellectual property issues are not far behind. This is illustrated by the regulatory framework surrounding neural prosthetics.
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