The da Vinci Surgical System, which performs urologic, gynecologic, cardiothoracic, and general operations less invasively and more effectively than traditional procedures, is the flagship product of Intuitive Surgical, a US-based global technology leader in robotic surgery. As a prime mover of this technology, Intuitive Surgical enjoys the biggest market share and the benefit of establishing its brand before competitors entered the market. Over the years, it has built barriers to new entry, including superior product offerings, intellectual property protection, multiple regulatory clearances, a large installation base, worldwide training centers, strong customer relationships, and an excellent balance sheet. Though Intuitive Surgical has no serious competitors today, it does have concerns and challenges. One major concern is the displacement of surgeons and nurses at client facilities. Another is product safety – one slight error in calibration can result in fatalities detrimental to the company’s image, as well as legal battles. The expiration of the company’s existing patents in 2016 poses a serious challenge. Once these patents expire, competitors can utilize those technologies in the marketplace, and Intuitive Surgical’s competitive advantage will be lost.

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Hoffman, A.N. (2010). Intuitive Surgical, Inc.: How Long Can Their Monopoly Last?. RSM Case Development Centre. Retrieved from