Software Co. Lobs Antitrust Claims at Rival


     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A health-data analytics company fraudulently obtained patents and bullied competitors to dominate the market for medical claims organizing software, according to a new federal complaint.
     Cave Consulting Group Inc. sued OptumInsight Inc. on July 24 for antitrust violations, false advertising and malicious prosecution.
     “OptumInsight’s anticompetitive conduct has harmed competition in the grouper software market by, among other things, affecting prices and reducing competition, quality, innovation and consumer choice,” the complaint states.
     CCGroup claims Symmetry Health Data Systems, which was acquired by OptumInsights in 2003, lied and omitted facts when it applied for and defended patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
     Symmetry and later OptumInsights sued its two major competitors, MedStat Group Inc. and CCGroup, for infringing the “ill-gotten patents” and came to control 85 to 90 percent of the market, according to the lawsuit.
     CCGroup claims the defendant withheld from the USPTO details on its offer to sell its invention to Aetna on June 12, 1994, which should have triggered a one-year deadline to file a patent application for the invention. The application was filed 10 days after the alleged deadline on June 22, 1995, according to USPTO records.
     In subsequent lawsuits and USPTO proceedings, Symmetry switched the invention date from September 1993 to August 1994, claiming the alleged sales offer was invalid because the invention was “not ready for patenting,” according to the complaint.
     CCGroup says OptumInsight’s continued insistence that the technology was invented in August 1994 runs contrary to sworn statements and testimony, some of which remain sealed as confidential “attorneys’-eyes-only materials.”
     In 2011, OptumInsight sued CCGroup in Minnesota for patent infringement but dismissed the case without prejudice four months later. CCGroups says the lawsuit tarnished its reputation and that OptumInsight refused to dismiss the case with prejudice to dispel the allegations.
     “CCGroup received numerous inquiries from customers and potential customers regarding OptumInsight’s allegations of infringement,” the complaint states.
     CCGroup seeks a court declaration that OptumInsights has monopolized the grouper software market and a permanent injunction to stop OptumInsights from enforcing its “fraudulently obtained” patents and trying to monopolize the market, and compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages.
     CCGroup’s attorney, Holly House of Paul Hastings in San Francisco, deferred comment to her co-counsel Richard Brophy of Armstrong Teasdale in St. Louis. Brophy did not immediately return a request for comment.
     OptumInsight also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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