The Theranos inventor has been found guilty of fraud. Theranos had 700 patents which were ‘acquired’ by SoftBank company Fortress for $100m.
Stanford drop out Elizabeth Holmes founded Theranos at just 19, it was based on a new invention that promised to revolutionize blood testing. Elizabeth Holmes became the world's youngest self-made billionaire, then shortly afterwards her multibillion-dollar company was dissolved.
(and yes there is a film: The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley)
The question many people are asking (and quite rightly) is if the inventions were based on fraud how can patents have been granted in the first place and then also how could those patents actually be valuable?
The highly skilled examiners at the US Patent and Trademark office are not in a position to repeat the experiments and assess the results claimed in the patent. They base their judgement from their own expertise, on the references cited, on novelty, on inventive step over known prior art and the view that somebody skilled in the art could produce these results.
Of course, it is entirely reasonable that a failed business could have good technology and good patents and this happens all the time.
In 2015 the Wall Street Journal revealed that Theranos in-house tests had massive inaccuracies, and that the company was performing other tests using traditional blood drawing methodology and outside labs. The assertion in the Theranos case is that the technology was flawed and inventions fraudulent.
In 2015 the Wall Street Journal revealed that Theranos in-house tests had massive inaccuracies, and that the company was performing other tests using traditional blood drawing methodology and outside labs. The assertion in the Theranos case is that the technology was flawed and inventions fraudulent. It is however, entirely possible that some of the technology developed at Theranos is novel and inventive and hence patentable.
The brains behind Fortress are proven so the chances are they know what they are doing, and it remains to be seen how this plays out over the next few years.
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Author: John Pryor Exalt IP