Two companies have alleged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stole five risk management products and put them on the FDA website. According to Projectioneering LLC and FoodQuestTQ, LLC, the FDA is offering the five computer automated products at no charge on their website even though the products are patent-protected.
The presidents of the two companies have made the allegations public because they said they don't want to push the patent dispute into third parties; however, they did say that would occur if needed.
The two companies introduced their risk management products in 2009 to the FDA. Through the help of an angel investor and with millions of their own funding, they started working with the FDA. Last fall, the companies learned the FDA had turned the project over to Battelle Memorial Institute. This is when the patent infringement began, according to the two small businesses.
After realizing what was happening, the companies offered the FDA a license for the risk management software for $1 a year. The FDA said no. After requesting a "good faith review," the two companies say the FDA's general council simply defended the actions of the agency. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is the parent agency of the FDA, also got involved. A 10-page letter was issued by the general council for the HHS that said there was no evidence any trade secrets were taken. As a result, FoodQuestTQ and Projectioneering introduced a 34-page "technical paper." The paper has been sent through the various legislative and executive branches.
The two companies say the FDA simply wants them out of business and to continue using the risk management software. They want to warn other small businesses to think twice before sharing similar projects with the federal government because they can "steal from businesses with impunity."
If you believe your trade secrets or patents have been stolen or infringed upon, contact an experienced business law attorney. These cases often involve complex litigation, so you must ensure your rights are protected.
Source: foodsafetynews.com, "Patent-Protected Technology Ended Up on FDA Website, Companies Charge" Dan Flynn, May. 21, 2013