Healthcare Technology Featured Article

December 05, 2012

InTouch Technologies Goes Leaps and Bounds to Force VGo Out of Health Market

Late last week, a jury at the U.S. Federal District Court in Los Angeles California, found that VGo Communications did not infringe three patents owned by InTouch Technologies Inc., which is currently doing business as InTouch Health. In addition, the court found that InTouch submitted patents to be invalid.

An affordable robotic tele-presence solution is produced by VGo. InTouch produces a solution at about 20 times the price of a VGo. With decades of robotic and visual communications experience, InTouch's patents were previously reviewed by VGo, prior to completing the design of its product.

To license a number of InTouch held patents, InTouch approached VGo with an offer, in the fall of 2010. Hence, to be sure that no patents were infringed, VGo re-examined its own technology and consulted with legal counsel. VGo declined to license the patents. On ground of infringing dozens of claims in five patents, InTouch filed suit against VGo on November 4, 2011.

InTouch eventually reduced the suit to four claims in three patents after requiring VGo to respond to all claims. InTouch claimed that, for deciding who can connect to its robotic tele-presence system, VGo used an arbitration method and employed a call-back mechanism, neither of which is used by VGo.

Also, InTouch claimed that VGo had violated elements of a patent it had purchased from IBM, which defined specific methods for remote control of a videoconferencing camera; however VGo does not use these methods.

The eight member jury took approximately three hours to unanimously find that VGo did not infringe any of the claims in the lawsuit.  The jury furthermore accepted the prior art provided by VGo to find that two of InTouch's prime patents were invalid. To try to force VGo out of the healthcare market, InTouch was using the lawsuit.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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