Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Medtronic Patent Application: Communication system for medical devices

On May 31, 2007, the US Patent Office published the Medtronic patent application, Communication system for medical devices, Application number: 20070123955. I came across this patent application today (10/14/2009).  Here's the abstract to the patent application:

A communications device facilitates communication between a medical device and a wireless communications network and comprises a telemetry circuit configured to wirelessly communicate with one or more medical devices, and a computer network communication interface configured to wirelessly communicate directly with a wireless computer network. 

I invite my readers to go to the USPTO website, look-up the patent application, and refer to Figure 3.  You will notice that this looks remarkably like the figure that I published in this blog on 10/11/2009.  There are a few differences, first, the Medtronic communications model is less robust than the one I showed.  Second, the Medtronic model does not show a multi-channel wireless communication or opportunistic routing capability.  Third, the Medtronic model does not include a Central Server and is missing the means to manage the unreliable network-side wireless connection. The differences I discussed are disclosed in a patent application filed in June 2004.  All indications are that a patent will be issued.

The Medtronic patent application bears a remarkable resemblance to US Patent 7,149,511, Wireless Intelligent Personal Server.  The major difference is that the Medtronic patent application is directed towards a medical application whereas Patent #7,149,511 is directed towards general use.  

The communication model defined by Patent #7,149,511 was extended and turned into the model that I showed after extensive analysis and systems modeling.  The communications model shared by both Patent #7,149,511 and the Medtronic patent application showed a lack of robustness.  While the model that I drew has shown itself to be extremely robust, secure and scalable.  The software that Rosetta-Wireless developed used the communications model that I drew. 

I mention this because I was part of a research and development program geared fundamentally towards the development of a secure, sophisticated and robust communications system with capabilities to support the transport of medical communications.  I mentioned in an earlier article in this blog that the NIH was interested in our communications model and it's ability to transport data for medical applications.

I say all this because I believe I understand the purpose of this Medtronic system as proposed in the patent application.  The Medtronic patent application discloses a means for transporting data and programs bidirectionally.  Thus, it is an enabling technology for supporting remote programming.  And if you read the Medtronic application, you will note that it does in fact mention remote programming.  

I believe this application is a marker that defines the level of interest that Medtronic has in remote programming.  And that level of interest appears significant.  They have a series of patents including a significant and broad patent that clearly marks-out the intellectual boundaries of remote programming.  Now, I have come across what can only be defined as an "enabling" technology patent application that defines how data and programming could be transported over wireless.

More to come ...

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