Collecting Clinical Data Over The Internet? You'll Probably Get Sued For Patent Infringement
from the promoting-innovation? dept
The number of examples of problems with the patent system keep piling up. Kevin submits the latest story about a small patent holding company that is suing plenty of companies for a patent on collecting and validating clinical test data over the internet. Reading through the patent itself is fun. They act as if it’s an amazing innovation to collect and validate such data online. However, what’s more interesting in this case, is how the company that owns the patent, Datasci, is proceeding with its legal strategy. Following the well worn path of other patent hoarders, it focused on a smaller software company that was unlikely to want to go through the long legal fight. However, it also threatened to sue that company’s customers. Suddenly, the stakes are much higher, and the company has a lot more pressure to settle, just to keep its customers from freaking out over some lawsuit just because they’re using some data collection software. So, that software company settles, and pays out a few million dollars. The patent holder then uses those millions to turn around and sue another, slightly larger company… and the cycle repeats. No one challenges the patent because it’s just to expensive, and the risk from exposing customers to a possible liability increases the perceived cost of your solution, making it imperative to get the thing settled as quickly as possible. Again, this is the patent system at its worst. A totally obvious idea, being used to extort money out of companies who basically have no choice but to pay up.