California investors may have heard that the virtual health care company Teladoc is being sued by one of its competitors, American Well. The lawsuit was filed in Massachusetts on June 8 and alleges that Teladoc infringed on American Well's patent. American Well is seeking an award for damages and court costs as well as an injunction against Teladoc.
The CEO of Teladoc said that the patent infringement lawsuit is a response to a petition that Teladoc filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on March 24. Teladoc asked the office to reevaluate the patents that were registered by American Well and invalidate them. The Teladoc CEO says that the patents contain false and overly broad statements. He also says that Teladoc was offering virtual health care services to patients before American Well was even a company.
American Well's lawsuit concerns patent number 7,590,550, 'Connecting consumers with service providers," which was granted in 2007. The patent covers American Well's system for matching available service providers with care requests. According to American Well, there are six elements of the patent that are also present in Teladoc's S-1 form. Teladoc was formed in 2002, and American Well was formed in 2006.
It is important for a company to get protection for its own intellectual property as soon as possible. While an idea is being developed, it is also crucial for developers to keep records of their process so that they may avoid any potential infringement claims in the future. An attorney may offer ideas to clients as to how to properly protect their intellectual property rights through registration and by other means.
Source: mobi health news, "American Well sues Teladoc for alleged patent infringement," Jonah Comstock, Jun 8, 2015