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

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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 reportedly spent an estimated one billion Australian dollars on a Personal Health Records program which is the subject of the potential infringement and which appears to broadly incorporate numerous portions of the MMR IP.”

The patents in question are Australian patents 2006202057 and 2008202401. The first, US 8,117,045, describes a “method for providing a consumer with the ability to access and collect health records … through use of a consumer address”. The second, US 8,121,855 covers “the ability to access and collect personal health records associated with the consumer in a secure and private manner”.

The company last year announced a distribution deal covering the Australian market with Visiinc, which is headquartered as headquartered in Perth, registered in the UK, and listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Visiinc’s domain is owned by Firmware Technologies, registered as a foreign company in Australia, with its former names given as Games On Demand International and Hygenitek. Firmware Technologies had a brief flurry of headlines in 2010 when it secured $AU35 million in funding, complaining that Australia was a difficult location for start-ups.

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”. Its SEC filings show that in the nine months to December 2012, it brought in just $US130,000 from subscription revenues.

MMRGlobal holds a Delaware business registration for MMRGlobal.com.au - a domain which is incongruously registered to the Rok Starr and Missy Miss Family Trust. ®

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