GE filed suit against portable ultrasound manufacturer SonoSite on May 15 over 5 different patents, one of which is the use of a "touchpad pointing device" on an ultrasound instead of a trackball. Seriously. What is the patent office thinking to allow a patent for a technology that is basically ripped off from whomever decided to put it on a laptop computer? This is real. You can read the patent here. There HAS to be more to this patent.... Isn't this like patenting a QWERTY keyboard on a phone? How is this innovative? Rip off one technology, put it on another and call it your own? Is this really what GE calls "imagination at work"? I'll give them credit, this is definitely imaginitive and creative!
All that aside, the other four patents apply to more specific technologies involving physics, not the use of your index finger.
There's a good Seattle Times article and I've included the following Auntminnie.com article discussing the lawsuit. Looking up these patents, they deal with color Doppler, power Doppler, and the transferring of data from the ultrasound to another machine. Here are the patents they're suing over: 4,932,415 5,584,294, 6,120,447, 6,210,327, and 6,418,225
GE Healthcare of Chalfont St. Giles, U.K., has filed a lawsuit against compact-ultrasound developer SonoSite of Bothell, WA. The lawsuit charges SonoSite with infringing on GE patents for compact-ultrasound technology.
GE filed the lawsuit on May 15 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The company charges that SonoSite's MicroMaxx and/or Titan scanners infringe on GE patents Nos. 4,932,415; 5,584,294; 6,120,447; 6,210,327; and 6,418,225 relating to ultrasound technology. GE said it is seeking "unspecified monetary damages and an injunction."
SonoSite spokesperson Anne Bugge said the company has not yet been formally served with the case, but is evaluating its options. "We are just in the early stages of analyzing it," Bugge said. "We intend to vigorously defend our rights."
SonoSite is already embroiled in litigation over patents related to compact ultrasound with competitor Zonare Medical Systems of Mountain View, CA.
By AuntMinnie.com staff writers