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Court Tosses Copyright Case Over Medical Forms

(CN) - The 11th Circuit rejected a licensing company's claim that a marketing agent swiped its copyrighted medical template forms without paying royalties.

Healthcare administrator Joshua Plummer teamed up with Dr. Michael McHale, an emergency-room doctor, to develop medical forms charting a patient's medical history and current symptoms.

The forms, sold under the brand name ED Maximus, were managed through Plummer and McHale's company, Utopia Provider Systems. Utopia licensed the ED Maximus forms in 2001 to Pro-Med Clinical System, which sold the templates to hospitals and paid Utopia royalties.

Pro-Med's forms were based on Ed Maximus templates, but were instead called Pro-Med Maximus.

About a year later, Pro-Med allegedly used the same templates to develop its own Electronic Physician Documentation system and stopped pay royalties to Utopia.

Utopia sued, claiming Pro-Med violated its licensing agreement.

But the federal appeals court in Atlanta ruled that Utopia's blank forms were not copyrightable in the first place, because the selection and arrangement of the terms in the template did not convey information and were not sufficiently original.

Judge Gerald Tjoflat dismissed the remaining claims for breach of contract claims and breach of fiduciary duty because they would require extensive review of state law that would "predominate over the federal claim."

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