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COVID-19 has prompted a surge in patents for new medtech, with 1,225 global patent filings for collaborative medical technology products over the past year, according to recently released figures from accountancy company BDO.

BDO said that due to the way COVID-19 had “forced limits” on face-to-face consultations, there had been an emergent need for ways to remotely diagnose and treat patients. The company said that the medtech sector was “clearly responding to the coronavirus”.

China and the USA dominated the figures, with 794 and 253 new patent filings in the last year, respectively. However, of the 1,225 collaborative medtech patent filings in the last year, none were filed by British business, causing BDO Head of Technology Tony Spillett to warn that the UK could get left behind.

“The innovations being patented today are going to change how we experience medical diagnosis and treatment in the long term,” Spillett said.

“As the new remote medical market opens up, having a strong foothold of intellectual property is vital. Businesses in the US and China are already beginning to dominate the field and there is a risk of the UK missing out on the growth of a major new industry.”

American firm IBM filed the most patents of any company over the year, with 18 filings, followed by Dutch company Philips with 13 and Chinese firm Beijing Hanbo Technology, which filed 12.

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