Klein & Wilson

American Well sues competitor for patent infringement

Many California business owners know that intellectual property is a valuable asset for any company. A telehealth company is now suing a competitor to protect its intellectual property rights that constitute the core processes through which it conducts its business.

In 2009, Massachusetts-based health care company American Well was granted a patent on a process for matching patients with health care providers and facilitating delivery of those health care services over the Internet. A competitor, Teladoc, engages in a similar type of service. In a filing with the SEC prior to an initial public offering, Teladoc claims that it is not dependent on any existing intellectual property to operate. However, American Well claims that it was recently contacted by Teladoc in a request to license its existing patent. Teladoc has also attempted to invalidate several of American Well's patent claims.

American Well has now filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging that Teladoc is violating intellectual property rights. Teladoc denies this accusation, stating that the rights in question are overly broad and that Teladoc and others were using these processes prior to American Well's patent application. Teladoc alleges that the patent covers multiple aspects of the process that are obvious and not patentable. American Well has not commented on the lawsuit directly, but says that it plans to incorporate new technologies and continue expanding its service beyond their current offerings.

In cases where a competitor has infringed on protected intellectual property, such as trademark misappropriation or unauthorized use of patented processes, an attorney may be able to help. The attorney may be able to negotiate a fair licensing agreement or initiate intellectual property litigation in situations where a settlement cannot be reached. This could result in compensation for damages suffered as a result of the infringement.

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