back to article US company aims patent-gun at Australia’s e-health system

The Australian government’s long and often troubled effort to introduce a personal electronic health record system has run into a patent snag, with Delaware-based MMRGlobal asserting both state and federal governments are infringing its patents. Its announcement, here, says NEHTA (the National E-Health Transition Authority) “has …

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Silver badge

If only australia was a country

It could invalidate the patents, assign them to itself or insist on FRAND licensing

Or just tell US patent trolls to go fuck a kangaroo

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Devil

Re: If only australia was a country

That would for once an acceptable government landgrab, this time on pretend property.

GO GO I would like to see this.

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Flame

Re: If only australia was a country

Forget the Kangaroo, an Echidna suppository would be far more appropriate.

(Flame? Post suppository side effects of course.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If only australia was a country

Never miond that, just set Sir Les Patterson on them...

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WTF?

What. the. fuck.

“the ability to access and collect personal health records associated with the consumer in a secure and private manner”

Like every developed country has already been doing for decades?! Why does the US's broken patent system persistently try and fuck up the rest of the world?

I think I might try and patent "the ability to access and collect personal banking records associated with the consumer in a secure and private manner", but i fear someone else may have already patented "the ability to create ridiculous, broad and fucking obvious patents, before using them in an idiotic manner".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What. the. fuck.

Every medical database ever breaches these patents.

Tell the US to go fuck themselves preferablly with a cheesegrater

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Every medical database ever breaches these patents.

No, they do not.. You need to read the claims, not the overview.

What the patent actually describes is basically a virtual accomodation address / office service, specialised for the purpose of receiving faxes and phone calls from healthcare providers, with a secure web interface for the consumer to pick up their messages.

Of course, that's not patentable matter, for the reason that just adding the words "with a computer" to a long-established practice is not patentable, but it's not something that most medical databases do.

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Vic
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Re: What. the. fuck.

> Why does the US's broken patent system persistently try and fuck up the rest of the world?

For once - just this once, mark you - this isn't the US patent system at fault.

These are Australian patents. It is the Australian system at fault.

That'll learn 'em to copy the septics...

Vic.

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Unless:

A) These companies have valid patents in Australia; or

B) OzGov plans to sell the product in the US

I don't see how this is happening.

Unless OzGov was stupid enough to sign one of those one-sided agreements the US seems to love so much.

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regretably

It is. eg Free Trade agreements that only benefit one country, and it is not Oz. Follows US into stupid wars that have nothing to do with us, buys crap hardware that is either rusted on delivery, does not exist (working F35 anyone ?) or has too short a range to do anything meaningful without vulnerable air tankers. Imports failed gurus of latest failed fad in politics or economics, stufffng up working public services or in destroying public assets to enrichen a bludging parasitic few. Does not matter what the brand is, all Oz fed governments of last 100 years have a cultural cringe of the toadiest kind. Odd, really, considering the average citizen does not. Merely as parochial as any other tribesman. About time I had a go at a flame again. Damn, NO CAPITAL LETTERS. there, fixed.

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Anonymous Coward

Did you actually read the article you're commenting on?

From your comment: Unless: A) These companies have valid patents in Australia;

From the article: The patents in question are Australian patents 2006202057 and 2008202401

Perhaps you shouldn't be so hasty to go flinging around the word "stupid".

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FAIL

If an Australian company tried this on a US state...

... the US media would go to town on ridiculing them.

And rightly too. The claims asserted in those patents swing wildly from "mind-blowingly obvious" to "mind-blowingly stupid". Apparently, insanity is patentable now.

Patent US8121855 specifies: "The method includes assigning a toll-free phone number individually associated with and dedicated to the consumer for private fax and voice communications from a health care provider..." Curses! If only there were some alternative technology that could replace faxes!

Patent US8117045 includes "assigning a destination address individually associated with the consumer account... The destination address can be a phone number or email account." Surely trivial to work around - if the Aussies were even contemplating doing that in the first place, which sounds pretty dumb to me.

The most the Aussies should offer to appease them is a free holiday to swim with the crocodiles.

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FAIL

the ability to access and collect health records … through use of a consumer address

Err, What?

So if you search for a medically related file by the customers ADDRESS thats patentable?

That.... Absurd.

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Stop

Patent Trolls go home

Now.

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pAtents

Sound like this is the year of chicken shit patents

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: pAtents

"century of" not "year of".

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One offs are different?

Disregarding the validity of the patents, which has been well commented on already, I thought that patent protection only applied to people or organisations who were producing an infringing item/system for general sale.

e.g. If I had the ability and resources, I could produce an exact copy of an iPad and use it for my personal use with no legal redress from Apple. (I'm not considering the trademark aspects here, just the patents, though my reasoning also applies too the trademark.) As long as it's for my personal use and I don't try to sell it.

Similarly, I can ask someone else to produce an exact copy of an iPad for my personal use and that would also be ok, provided that I had specifically asked them to do that and that did not make a habit of doing this for lots of people.

If the Australian government (or any individual) specifically asks for one specific computer system to be built to its own requirements, in terms of characteristics and methods, then it doesn't matter if any patents cover that system because it is not being built/sold for general sale.

IANAL so can a legal beagle please comment?

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Stop

Re: One offs are different?

YANAL, indeed (not that IAAL, either, but have some experience with patents)

"a patent provides the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented invention for the term of the patent" (wiki)

"Manufacture of a product upon which there is an existing patent is "patent infringement" which can result in a lawsuit against the infringer with substantial damages granted" - http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=1468

If you make it yourself, and don't show it to anyone, it just makes it hard for the patent holder to find out that you've infringed their patent - but it doesn't make your action any less wrong.

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Gold badge

Re: One offs are different?

"If you make it yourself, and don't show it to anyone, it just makes it hard for the patent holder to find out that you've infringed their patent - but it doesn't make your action any less wrong."

You are, after all, potentially denying the patent holder of a sale.

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Paris Hilton

A very small company?

"CEO of MMR Global, listed as the inventor of the two patents, told The Australian his company’s services typically sell for “$US100 ($97) per year”."

Is this a typo or does he have a rather bad idea about cash flow management?

Paris, as her servicing costs are a lot more than his.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A very small company?

Probably 'user' = 'patient'

I'd like to see Australia invalidate these patents with the stroke of a pen - which would then serve as a warning to other trolls that games are not to be played with the big boys.

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Re: A very small company?

"I'd like to see Australia invalidate these patents with the stroke of a pen"

Easier, and surely more educational, to let the plaintiffs pay some money to an Australian lawyer and then also pay the government's legal fees as they are laughed out of an Australian court.

Both patents are forms of "we'll only talk to you via previously registered lines of communication" (whether address, email, or telephone line). Obvious, check. Non-novel, check. Time-wasting moron, check.

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Shouldn't the trolls be trying to put the bite on the company that sold/installed the system? I know that as an end user if someone tried to put the bite on me because I had bought something that "violated a patent" they would be met with a short, sharp, fuck off. And I don't even have an Air Force.

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Facepalm

Thank you Mr Howard...

Even after you have left office, you are the gift that keeps on giving..

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Anonymous Coward

Waiting eagerly for someone to realise...

...a little black-ops mission is often cheaper than lawyers. :-)

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Unhappy

Once again we see how the world would be a measurably better place if the US Patent Office was bulldozed over the edge of a cliff.

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USPTO bulldozed

LOL! That one's gone into my commonplace file.

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But....

These are Australian Patents, which means that the Oz patent system is as bad as that in the US. Does this mean the US Patent office can sue the Australian government for patent infringement? "Patent 0000001: A patent system designed to allow spurious, wide open and vague of meaning patents to be filed, without any proof that the applicant has made any effort to actually design or make anything workable, or provide any proof of concept, and has merely thrown some words in a random sentence generator."

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It's the Australian Patent Office...

... the one that passed a patent on the wheel.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: It's the Australian Patent Office... re: wheel

Now that's fucking awesome.

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Being more serious for second

“method for providing a consumer with the ability to access and collect health records … through use of a consumer address”.

That pretty much nails any system for providing information on a patient, including paper files (Health records) with a patients name and address on them (consumer address).

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WTF?

Re: Being more serious for second

That was my thought - this is simply taking the pi55. This is obviousness beyond obviousness as most people have an address.

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it will be interesting to see how they fare

The patents would have to satisfy this:

http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/get-the-right-ip/patents/about-patents/what-can-be-patented/patents-for-business-methods/

Which on the face of it they don't. Looks overly broad and lacking the physical form/device requirement.

Also still looks like software is unpatentable here unless it's directly part of an industrial process with a physical output.

Lawyers may of course obfuscate this beyond meaning....

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g e
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FAIL

method for providing a consumer with the ability to access and collect health records...

Sue the Royal Mail in the UK, too, if you ever get your records posted to you cos you moved health Authority in a house purchase.

Overly broad. Invalidate it.

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Bullshite.

How often do you not create a wonderful thing because you wonder if some toad will patent it, personally I create whatever I can without letting that affect me but I think that the consumer must have lost out at some point or at least the world is missing some unique items. These patents aught to be banned altogether they're complete shite, stifle human development in just about all ways apart from that of the cnut, and are just another way for those daft cnuts to run around acting like air is a commodity.

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Thumb Up

Thanks to the Free Trade agreement

That the previous government signed with the yanks, we have loads of American companies coming into Australia trying to sue Australian companies that have been established for 40-50 years for infringing their 'IP' when the companies they have targeted existed long before their company even did.

And now we have examples of dodgy US patents being introduced into Australia to try and force more Australian companies to hand over their existing IP to US companies for nothing.

The only thing that will correct this issue is for the current government to rip up the US trade agreement (it's way too one sided for my liking) and tell the US that they are now at the back of the queue in terms of favored trading partners. The US might jump up and down a bit and scream a lot more, but considering that their banks screwed our banks with their toxic sub-prime loans... feck em.

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Bronze badge

Welcome to OZ

We welcome your patient lawyers

for ours is a vast, sunburnt country,

with friendly people and sparkling shores,

and plenty of crocodiles, sharks, jellyfish, snakes and spiders,

which haven't been fed recently.

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I'm happy that this had happened to the Oz government. Maybe they will see some sense w.r.t to crap patents and reform the broken system.

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