Black-owned firm fighting Kaiser for 5 years now over patent infringement, sues it for $50M

Abu Mubarik August 23, 2023
George McKinney, the founder and CEO of ViQUAL Medical Technology LLC. Photo credit: Black News

George McKinney is the black entrepreneur behind ViQUAL Medical Technology LLC. In the last five years, the company has been involved in a legal tussle with medical giant Kaiser Permanente involving the technology of one of its sister companies, Better Life Technologies Group. ViQUAL Medical was created to be a medical device division of Better Life Technologies Group, Inc.

Better Life Technologies Group is a technology company focusing on wireless wearable technologies. Its issued patent US 8,659,432 B2 covers human monitoring in aquatic environments and patient monitoring applications in hospitals and homes.

Better Life sued Kaiser Permanente for $50 million in 2018, claiming the company stole its trade secrets on wearable medical devices and shared them with its competitors. The company believes the leak of its trade secrets may have contributed to the birth of a $30 billion industry which focuses on wireless-wearable wellness communications between physicians and patients, Style Magazine reported.

“The theft of African American music, ideas, real property, and intellectual property has been integrated into American culture for years,” McKinney recently noted in a comment, according to Black News. “How many times have we heard about the Black man or woman who has a great idea, something special, but after disclosing it, has found that the idea now belongs to someone else?

“Our history is replete with innovations, technologies, and patentable ideas that never saw the light of day because they were stolen. African American cities have been bombed because of racial prejudice. Remember Black Wall Street and the devastation that took place because some folks didn’t want equity, they wanted to feel and be superior.”

In a court document, Better Life Technologies Group claims 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.

According to the firm, 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 said its representatives started talking to Kaiser C-level Officers between 2011 and 2012. They held several meetings regarding their innovative Physician-to-patient wireless-wearable communication technologies.

Kaiser subsequently signed a Non-Compete Non-Disclosure agreement with Better Life’s sister company ViQUAL Medical promising not to share Better Life’s disclosed intellectual property and trade secrets.

McKinney and his co-founders have claimed that their innovative technologies have been integrated into the healthcare application of IOT, stressing that Kaiser’s breach of contract has deprived ViQUAL Medical of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues.

McKinney said in a statement to Black News that “the struggle has been difficult because Kaiser has used underhanded tactics that have prolonged the case to force a company under duress to sign a walk-away agreement based upon fabrication and deception.”

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