Successful innovation in medical technology: IP management at Fresenius Medical Care
Fresenius Medical Care is the world’s leading provider of products and services for people with chronic kidney failure supplying around 3.4 million patients worldwide, who regularly undergo dialysis treatment. As a company it is specialized in the production of medical supplies, especially to facilitate or aid renal dialysis. Dialysis is a vital blood cleansing procedure that substitutes the function of the kidney in case of kidney failure. Fresenius runs more than 3.900 dialysis clinics around the globe and operates 42 production sites on all continents with every second dialysis machine worldwide produced by Fresenius Medical Care. Fresenius Medical Care is generating around 16.55 billion Euro revenues worldwide. Fresenius Medical Care’s corporate headquarters are in Bad Homburg v.d.H., Germany, while the headquarter of North America is in Waltham, Massachusetts and the headquarter of Asia-Pacific is in Hong Kong. The company has experience in developing and producing dialysis products for more than four decades.
According to major financial challenges Fresenius Medical Care must shape its innovation activities. The company has the intention to develop innovative products, which are on high-quality but also affordable. The experience in operating a huge number of own dialysis clinics make this strategy realistic. In R&D-Fresenius Medical Care collaborates with external partners and is a part of a comprehensive innovation and technology network. In 2017, the company spent a total of around 131 Mio. Euro on research and development, which reflects around 4% of the health care product revenue. The patent portfolio comprised at the end of 2017 some 8,396 property rights in approximately 1,253 patent families. and in 2017 Fresenius Medical Care filed for 126 additional patent families. One of the IP strategies is, that a broad portfolio of patents will provide the company a wide range of treatment options in this competitive area in the future. In 2017 825 employees worked for Fresenius Medical Care in R&D worldwide with centers in Germany, Romania, Austria, U.S. and China. They are coming from various backgrounds: with physicians, software specialists, business economists and engineers working in interdisciplinary teams.
Dr. Dreyhsig studied physics at the Technical University of Berlin and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Since 1994 Jörg Dreyhsig has been working for the global IP department of medical device manufacturer Fresenius Medical care. In 2003 he became a registered European Patent Attorney. He has continuously been involved in the building of a global patent portfolio around the company’s medical devices and has been engaged in numerous opposition proceedings, but also in national and multinational patent litigation cases. Since 2017 he is the Global Head of Litigation and Opposition for the Global IP organization, coordinating the litigation and opposition strategies of his own and other inhouse prosecution teams.
Dr. Dreyhsig gave a dinner speech at the 14th of March in Strasbourg about the changes and constants over nearly a quarter century in IP. From understanding the global patent landscape to organization, creating infrastructure and international enforcement, Jörg Dreyhsig has tremendous experience as an IP manager and is willing to share his insights.
Here is the Dinner Speech on IP management in industry – changes vs. constants over the years.
Interview with Dr. Dreyhsig, Vice President, Associate General Counsel IP, Fresenius Medical Care