Technomed wins High Court judgement that its database rights and copyright have been infringed by a competitor
All resting ECG reports issued by Technomed's ECG On-Demand® service are produced using a proprietary 2-step process;
It was Technomed's case that a commercial competitor replicated Technomed's reports by copying Technomed's system.
- Resting ECGs are classified by cardiac physiologists using a standardised ECG classification protocol.
- The physiologist classifications are then further processed using a risk classification algorithm calling on an underlying database to deliver the consensus triage opinion of a consultant cardiologist panel.
David Stone sitting as a judge of the High Court, Chancery Division, handed down his judgment on 24 Aug 2017.
The judge found that for a period of 3 years, a commercial competitor together with another party had infringed Technomed's intellectual property rights by copying substantial parts of Technomed’s ECG On-Demand® (formally ECG Cloud®) ECG reporting system. Of particular concern to Technomed was the replication of their ECG risk stratification and report generation database, a critical component of ECG On-Demand®, which Technomed has invested substantially in.
The judge found:
"There has been substantial investment in the obtaining and verification and presentation of the contents of the Database, assessed qualitatively. Technomed has sought to prevent extraction and/or re-utilisation of the whole or a substantial part of the contents of the Database. In my judgment, sui generis database right subsists in the Database."
"[The defendants] submission may have had greater force if in fact [they] had not used [Technomed's database] as a database. However … not only did [they] copy the entire database but they also electronically accessed the contents of the database,"
The case has been widely reported in the legal press gaining coverage for the effective use of database rights to protect a medical computer application and in what formats a database can exist in.
Mark Hashemi, managing director of Technomed commented, “We are very proud of our ECG On-Demand® reporting system and have spent a very considerable amount of time developing it. It is therefore particularly important to us to be able to protect our intellectual investment. This judgment demonstrates that we are able to do so if required.
It was very flattering that our competitor copied us however we would have preferred if they had not done so, thus avoiding the litigation.”