CliniComp continues legal spree with patent infringement suit against Athenahealth

Patents on file
After a judge ruled its patent expired in November, CliniComp has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in Texas against Athenahealth. (Shutterstock)

A week after a California judge dismissed its patent infringement claims against Cerner, CliniComp has set its sights on Athenahealth.

The San Diego-based EHR vendor that has grown increasingly litigious over the last year, this time claiming that Athenahealth violated CliniComp’s patent originally filed in 1997 for a remotely-hosted “enterprise healthcare management system.”

The complaint (PDF), filed this week in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, claims CliniComp CEO Chris Haudenschild “recognized the challenge facing healthcare enterprises and conceived of a system that would take advantage of the emerging power of the Internet to solve the IT infrastructure dilemma.”

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In 1999, Haudenschild created a system that relied on a remotely hosted infrastructure to allow health systems to easily upgrade IT systems.

The suit claims Athenahealth has “directly infringed and continues to directly infringe” on CliniComp’s patent by providing a cloud-hosted EHR to healthcare providers.

An Athenahealth spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

CliniComp’s claims are nearly identical to those filed against Cerner in a Southern California District Court last year. Last week, the judge overseeing that case dismissed CliniComp’s claims, ruling that the Haudenschild’s patent expired in November, since it was originally filed in 1997, but gave the company until June 4 to file an amended complaint.

RELATED: California judge tosses patent infringement case against Cerner

In statement to FierceHealthcare following that decision, CliniComp said the court’s ruling was largely in their favor since Cerner sold its software to the Department of Defense prior to the patent’s expiration date.

Exactly why CliniComp has decided to go after Athenahealth, in a different state court no less, is unclear. The complaint states that Athenahealth has “committed acts of infringement” in Western Texas, and notes the company has an office in Austin. Athenahealth is headquartered in Watertown, Massachusetts.

The root of CliniComp’s recent spat of lawsuits traces back to a fallout with the government, including the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs where the company held contracts to build and maintain clinical information systems.

Last year, CliniComp sued the Department of Veterans Affairs for appointing Cerner to a no-bid contract to overhaul the system’s EHR platform. That case was dismissed by a judge in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, but it is currently pending on appeal.

RELATED: CliniComp offers to drop its lawsuit against the VA pending an interoperability benchmark test

However, some in the company believe the lawsuit could bring down the VA’s deal with Cerner.

“It could unravel the whole deal,” one person said, requesting anonymity to speak freely. “Do I think the fix is in? Seems like it. Seems like it’s been in for a while.”

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