Horst Herb, leader of the GNUmed project spotted a February announcement of the award of patent #5833599 to Multum Information Services for ‘Providing Patient-Specific Drug Information’. Dr. Herb was quick to note its implications ‘a patent suitable for a health IT hall of shame…proprietarization of commonwealth knowledge at its worst!’ Tim Cook of the Free Practice Management project has stronger words:
‘This is absurd. I read through the patent and see no ‘uniqueness’ at all. They are simply applying search algorithms to databases. There is a reference to AI and they use an off the shelf expert system from Neuron Data, Inc. The only proprietary part I see (IANAL) is the compilation of drug information in the knowledge base. Whoopee! Our ‘civil servants’ are incompetent to perform their jobs.’
What remains to be seen is if the patent is enforceable. Jim Intriglia of www.jimintriglia.com writes: It is one thing to hold a patent, quite another to defend it or even collect on it.