$50 Million Claim Against Kaiser for Medical Technology

SAN DIEGO (CN) – A medical technology group sued Kaiser Permanente for $50 million on Wednesday, claiming the medical giant stole its trade secrets on wearable medical devices and shared them with its competitors.

The Better Life Technologies Group claims in federal court that Kaiser developed wearable medical devices with other companies after signing a nondisclosure agreement with Better Life in 2012.

“On or about late 2016, plaintiff discovered that defendant had used plaintiff’s proprietary trade secrets to enter into business relationships with plaintiff’s competitors and had derived income from providing plaintiff’s trade secrets to plaintiff’s competitors and other unauthorized recipients,” the lawsuit states.

The trade secrets involved “a patent for technology for a wireless wearable device designed for patients suffering from diabetes, heart conditions, and other medical conditions which require monitoring,” Better Life says in the complaint.

The patent does not mention about tracking diabetes, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It is listed as a waterproof device that tracks heart activity, particularly for swimmers and infants. When the device detects lack of a heartbeat, it lights up, sounds an audible alarm and notifies a cellphone or laptop.

In a 2014 interview with BET.com, Better Life CEO George McKinney said the device was meant to save children from drowning. He said he was inspired to create it after a 7-year-old accidentally drowned at a pool party at his home.

According to the Better Life website, only prototypes and digital mock-ups of its technology exist and it does not yet offer anything for sale. The lawsuit states that Better Life shared other secrets with Kaiser that are not mentioned in the patent.

Better Life seeks damages of at least $50 million, for patent infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract, and wants all infringing products to be destroyed or impounded.

Neither Better Life nor Kaiser could be reached for comment after business hours Wednesday.

Better Life is represented by Sallie Blackman with the Law Offices of Timothy Chandler.

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