American Well has launched a patent infringement case against Teladoc according to a news release yesterday.
The 10-page submission to the courts by American Well claims the infringements to be
– accessing a data repository that stores information pertaining to medical service providers including present availability of the medical service providers for participating in a consultation
– receiving in a computer, indications that members of a pool of medical service providers have become presently available
– receiving in the computer, a request from a consumer of services to consult with a medical service provider
– identifying in the computer, an available member of the pool
– and establishing a real-time communication channel between the consumer of services and the identified member of the pool
This author is wondering who thought this was such a novel technology as to warrant a patent? What were they thinking? Having worked on developing unified messaging systems for a mobile phone operator at the turn of the century (now that’s a scary 15 years ago) I am just picking myself off the floor after reading this.
Surely all these functions are no more than what is in every instant messaging program, dating back to 1990s? Replace the words “medical service provider” by “friends” or “contacts” and “consultation” by “chat” or “call” it seems to me you get … Skype and Face Time and more! If I am missing something I’ll be happy to be put right.
It turns out that Teladoc also noticed something along these lines and told the patent office as much in March, according to Med City News. Not surprisingly American Well hasn’t taken too kindly to that and hence the law suit.
Let’s watch the outcome