GE service settlements acknowledge copyrights

April 10, 1991

The court cases settled by GE Medical Systems and three independentservice organizations last month all involved GE's assertion ofcopyright protection for its advanced scanner service software.They were not, however, carbon copy agreements, as

The court cases settled by GE Medical Systems and three independentservice organizations last month all involved GE's assertion ofcopyright protection for its advanced scanner service software.They were not, however, carbon copy agreements, as characterizedby SCAN (3/13/91).

GE's litigation with R Squared Scan Systems was a more protractedcase involving a more complex set of claims on both sides. Inthe settlement, R Squared conceded that GE has copyright protectionon advanced service software, in return for access to operatingand basic software (SCAN 3/27/91).

The other two settlements actually involved one suit filedby GE against Mediq Engineering and Maintenance Services of Dallasand a start-up ISO, CTR International of Oconomowoc, WI. GE filedcharges against the two ISOs last October in U.S. District Courtfor the Eastern District of Wisconsin, according to a copy ofthe GE/CTR settlement supplied to SCAN by CTR.

In Mediq's case, the two firms agreed that Mediq was usingits own advanced software rather than GE's, said Douglas Stoner,patent counsel for GE.

CTR, on the other hand, claimed it does not use the GE advancedsoftware for 9800 computed tomography scanners and can performits service work using GE's basic software. CTR agreed not touse or copy GE advanced service software in the future and toreport the presence of this software to GE if it is found on magnetictape at a CTR service site.

After reporting the presence of the advanced service software,CTR can use nonadvanced software on the tape until GE providesit with a functional basic service software tape, according tothe settlement agreement.

CTR was formed by four former GE employees last July, saidpresident Paul Monet.

While Mediq and R Squared will use their own advanced servicesoftware, access to software is not the only indicator of servicecompetence, according to Paul Thomas, R Squared senior vice president.

"We (R Squared) have grown from a company with one (CT)scanner under service in 1981 to handling nearly 400 scannersand about 700 x-ray (service) contracts," Thomas said. "Youdo not grow just based upon the software available to you. Itis a company's whole attitude that counts. If you put the righttool in the hands of the wrong guy, the tool doesn't matter."

Charges against GE were dismissed in a related case involvingCT Repair Services, a now-defunct Los Angeles ISO, Stoner said.The decision was handed down in California Appellate Court.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury had originally decided againstGE in the case and awarded CTRS $2 million in damages (SCAN 1/17/90).The trial judge threw out that verdict and ordered a new trial,Stoner said. Counsel for CTRS did not respond to inquiries fromSCAN.