Medical Methods Patents in Neuromodulation

Neuromodulation. 2019 Jun;22(4):398-402. doi: 10.1111/ner.12919. Epub 2019 Feb 12.


There is a rapidly growing number of patents on methods of modulating brain regions. Despite this trend, and the massive potential of neuromodulation for treating patients, researchers and physicians who use neuromodulation techniques and technologies often have little idea of the significant ways these patents could affect their work. This article describes medical method patents, including a brief history of their development, and analyzes their potential direct and indirect effects on neuromodulation treatment and research efforts. As neuromodulation rapidly matures into a commercial and medical reality it is important to consider these effects in a forward thinking and value driven manner. The paper concludes with recommendations concerning how neuromodulation method patents may be used, or not, depending on the values of the inventor.

Keywords: Law; neuromodulation; patents; research; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / economics
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy*
  • Patents as Topic / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / economics
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / trends*