In a new case before Judge Douglas Woodlock, Massachusetts-based Iatric Systems filed for a declaratory judgment that a patent held by FairWarning, a Florida company, is invalid. Iatric and FairWarning are competitors marketing computer software designed to alert health care facilities to potential violations of patient privacy.  The patent at issue, U.S. Patent No. 8.578,500, is titled “System and Method of Fraud and Misuse Detection” and is directed to “detecting fraud and/or misuse of data in a computer environment.”

Iatric’s complaint also charges that FairWarning violated the Lanham Act through “false claims in bad faith to the marketplace that it invented patient privacy monitoring for electronic health records, that its product is protected by a valid patent, and by implying a false claim in bad faith that Iatric infringes that patent.”  The foundation of Iatric’s claims is the contention that its Security Audit Manager™ (“SAM”) software predates – and therefore invalidates – FairWarning’s patent.

As the parties are major competitors in the patient data privacy software arena, it remains to be seen whether Iatric’s suit will lead to a quick resolution or whether it is the first salvo in a data privacy court battle.