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Mass General Brigham sued for patent infringement of diagnostic imaging review technology

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | February 03, 2023
Business Affairs
Mass General Brigham is being sued for patent infringement of a diagnostic technology used for reviewing medical imaging. (Photo courtesy of Mass General Brigham)
Texas-based companies Tamabo Inc. and 511 Technologies Inc. are suing Mass General Brigham and its subsidiaries for patent infringement over a diagnostic technology designed to communicate viewer’s comments and requests during medical imaging scans.

Primarily used in cancer, tumor diagnostic and instructional settings, the technique records interpretative comments and gestures, and overlays them onto diagnostic video images for viewers to playback and review. It was invented by human-centered systems designer Armin Moehrle, and patented as U.S. Patent No. 6,599,130 Iterative Video teaching Aid with Recordable Commentary and Indexing (the "130 patent").

Tamabo commercializes and licenses inventions under the patent. It engaged 511 Technologies Inc. as a license and business development partner to help ensure all companies using the patent become licensed so that royalties are collected and Moehrle can continue to innovate.

In their suit, both companies say that Mass General Brigham commercially used the technology in ways that infringe on the "130 patent" internally, and charging patients for these services. They also accused it of providing the software and system services for a fee to other U.S. clinics, directly or through partners such as Precision Imaging Metrics LLC and YUNU Inc.

“Tamabo and 511 both respect and appreciate the valuable diagnostic services provided to patients and clinicians across the U.S. All that is asked in return is that Mass General Brigham respect and appreciate the valuable intellectual property rights and the fact that Mr. Moehrle made this all possible, by paying a reasonable royalty, which would be a small percentage of the revenue received by Mass General Brigham for their commercial use, just as others have,” both companies told HCB News.

Mass General Brigham is the largest healthcare provider in Massachusetts, made up of Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Moehrle's technology has been used in over 45,000 scans analyzed in almost 1,000 clinical trials, to date, reported Bloomberg Law, which first broke the news.

Moehrle received a patent for the system in 2003 and years later created the Open Health Imaging Foundation and his own startup to encourage widespread adoption of his innovations.

He worked with Mass General in 2013 to improve its use of software for imaging and diagnosing cancer.

Prior to filing their case, Tamabo and 511 Technologies said they met with Mass Gen to discuss licensing “on reasonable terms and conditions,” but that talks were unsuccessful.

Despite its unlicensed use of his system, Moehrle says he is glad that Mass General has adopted his technology.

“Knowing that the work of clinicians and educators at Mass General and others is enhanced, and that patients and students both benefit from Mass Gen’s implementation of my invention is good, and was always the purpose of my work,” said Moehrle.

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