Surgical tools used in a particular surgical procedure are sometimes the primary product sold by a client. Frequently the patent protection for these tools can be augmented by medical method patents. Medical methods are not patentable in many patent systems around the world but are patentable in the United States. Doctors and hospitals are immune from patent litigation damages but competitors that provide the doctors and hospital with tools and training to infringe a medical method patent can be held accountable for inducing or contributing to the infringement of the patented methods. Medical method patents can thus help discourage competitors from providing a set of tools, implants, and training to provide a total solution to doctors.
Many surgical tools are reusable and some are provided without charge to hospitals in order to encourage sales of the implantable or disposable items. While surgical tools may not directly drive revenue, having patents on surgical tools may provide another impediment to a competitor to providing a total package that competes with your packaged solution.