Do distributors even care what they sell?
A medical device manufacturer generally does not sell their devices directly. It is difficult to do the marketing and understand the particular legal issues for each country. Therefore the sale of the devices is commonly left to distribution companies who handle all particularities, while taking a small part of the profit. As 3D-DXA is predominantly used as a marketing tool to sell more devices, I soon found my software and illustrations appearing on distributor websites across the world. Here is a non exclusive list of these distributors:
- Denmark: MLS Medical AS
- Italy: Trafita Medical System
- Germany: Degen Medizin Technik
- Ireland: Medray
- France: Pixray and Medilink
- UK: Med Imaging Healthcare
- Russia: Longway 80/120
After my initial inquiries regarding the illegal use of my PhD work, the illustrations were replaced and my statistical model in the logo was replaced with a generic bone model. However, soon they were reappearing (Degen Medizin Technik is again using the logo with my model as you can see here). When contacting MLS Medical AS to inform them of a copyright infringement on their website I received the following reply:
Dear Tristan Whitmarsh,
Tak you for your mail. The mentioned picture accidental has been taken out of a context. We were truly convinced it belonged to our accessible marketing material.
We absolutely respect your IP and will remove the actual picture. I sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
At the same time I took the liberty to go through your PhD thesis and must say that it is impressive.
Please allow our site administrator some time to remove the picture.
Michael W. Bek (Sales Manager) 2015/11/20
Now, normally when the infringement is removed and the claimant did not suffer any financial loss, there will be no precedent for legal action. However, when the accused infringing party continues to use the copyright protected material, then things start to change. This may indicate willful and continuing infringement and malicious intent to infringe. It was therefore important for me to know who provided this illustration and, more importantly, when. When asking this question to Michael W. Bek I received the following response:
Dear Tristan Whitmarsh,
As previously mentioned, the picture was removed already last year! Please
be aware that our sources are confidential.
Michael W. Bek
Michael W. Bek (Sales Manager) 2016/03/26
I myself would be very concerned when a distributor is selling medical devices and won’t tell you where he got them from. Following this I informed them of my claims against DMS but received no reply. This company is now merely linking to a brochure on 3D-DXA hosted by the DMS website hoping this would avoid any legal issues. Unfortunately this will not protect them from the consequences of selling fraudulent technologies.