American Well sues Teladoc over alleged patent infringement

American Well is suing Teladoc, saying the telemedicine provider infringed on its intellectual property.

Ido Schoenberg, CEO of American Well--a rival telemedicine company--said Teladoc "unfairly disregarded American Well's ownership rights to advance its business," in a statement about the lawsuit.

"We developed and patented these innovations and we owe it to our clients, partners and shareholders to protect them," Schoenberg said.

In its suit, American Well says the patent at issue is one called "connecting consumers with service providers," technology it says Teladoc is relying on despite not being authorized to practice on American Well's patent claims.

"Teladoc is well aware that it has been engaging in and continues to engage in the unauthorized practice of American Well's patented inventions," the suit says. In addition, Teladoc recently tried to obtain a license to American Well's patents, according to the suit, but American Well rejected that request.

American Well has been working to expand its services of late. Its newest venture is a mobile app that targets patients with chronic conditions, allowing physicians to reach their customers at home.

In a statement regarding the lawsuit, obtained by the Boston Business Journal, Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic says his company believes the patents are invalid, adding that the action by American Well is in response to Teladoc's petition with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to invalidate American Well patents.

Teladoc has also been battling with the Texas Medical Board over a rule that would require doctors to examine patients in person instead of through telemedicine before they can order prescriptions for them. A judge recently issued a temporary injunction against the board's rule. The ruling stops enforcement of the board's rule until after trial to determine whether it violates the law.

The suit also comes on the heels of news in late April that Teladoc may soon be headed toward an IPO.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement
- check out the suit (.pdf)
- read the Boston Business Journal report