The first evidence of the illegal use of my PhD work that I found was from a video posted on the website of Diagnostic Medical Systems (DMS). Please permit me to guide you through this video. It starts with a mouse pointer rotating a 3D model of a femur bone. The same model that I developed in my PhD. As a comparison I show Figure 2.11 from my thesis next to it.
If it is not quite clear, don’t worry, it will get clearer. Next, an actual illustration taken from my thesis is used without my permission. This constitutes plagiarism. What’s more, it actually shows a DXA scan taken by the Lunar iDXA device from GE Healthcare. This is a scanner from a competing manufacturer which produces considerably more detailed images. False advertisement anyone?
What I present you next is the most laughable evidence, or saddening, depending how you look at it. It shows the logo that DMS is using for the promotion of 3D-DXA which contains the same statistical model that I developed within my PhD, which is used by the 3D-DXA software. The arrows point to some identifying features in case it was not clear already that these are one and the same model.
Below is another example of the logo from the DMS website with a different illustration of my model from my thesis.
The video continues with Antoni Rui dangerously leaning against a glass railing and explaining how the (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) UPF has been working with DMS for the past few years investigating the development of medical applications concerning the fracture risk of the femur. Antoni Rui was an administrator with CISTIB and was never involved in my research. Moreover, I was not even aware of the existence of DMS before I was alerted of the video on their website.
Next we see Ludovic Humbert, who amazingly has both a doctoral and a PhD degree, demonstrating the software “they” allegedly developed. It starts with the user interface of the DMS system. Pressing a button with 3D-DXA indicated on it opens the GIMIAS software interface into which Yves Martelly previously integrated my software. After a brief explanation he then shows us the result of the 3D reconstruction which, you’ve guessed it, shows my model again.
Also appearing in this video are Luis Del Rio Barquero, proudly sitting on the DMS device he was given by DMS, and Jean Ringot (R&D Manager at DMS) making some wild predictions about the future capabilities of this software. They end with the claim that 3D-DXA is patented and only available for DMS Stratos devices. About the patent I will have some more to say in a later post.
For me the most sickening part in this video is the end credits. It thanks many people who I have never met and were never involved in my work. It also thanks Antoni Riu, Ludovic Humbert, Luis Del Rio and Yves Martelli for their implication in this project. I like to think they admit to being implicated in the IP theft of my software, but unfortunately they probably meant implementation. I assure you that none of them have written a single line of software code except for Yves Martelli, who undoubtedly had to write a few lines of code to get my software to link with GIMIAS.
Part of this video was also shown on the French TV station France3 (link). This video has now been removed, but not before I made a copy for posterity. Below are some screen grabs from the France3 report, with Jean Ringot and Samuel Sancerni (General manager) of DMS presenting my software, which took me more than three years to develop, as their own.
While they have since changed the logo to contain a generic femur model, distributors are still using the one with my model for the promotion of 3D-DXA (link). Samuel Sancerni even used it in his recent Linkedin post (link). The video was later modified to also show only the generic model and has been reposed on YouTube by a Russian distributor. The same distributor through which DMS is still committing plagiarism by the use of my illustrations for promotional material. This distributor also posted this video, which still shows my model in the logo and software. Perhaps DMS reckons that I will not be able to contact a Russian company, let alone sue them for plagiarism. Well, we’ll see about that. More on this later.
Believe it or not, but despite all this evidence, UPF and Galgo Medical continued to deny having used my software or model. Well, guess what, Yves Martelly already confessed to a member of UPF that the software sold by DMS is basically just my software. Unfortunately this person was worried about his position if he would provide me with an eye witness report. I respected his decision and did not pursue it further. I will have more to say later about the poisonous environment at UPF and the unwillingness of its members to do what’s right. Even more evidence comes with the timing. On January 16, 2013, I received an email from Yves Martelly asking for help with the software I provided him for one of the projects, which goes as follows:
Bonne annee! Sorry to bother you in your new life, but I’m having troubles with some volume reconstruction. For the finishing Vertex project, we need to reconstruct both shapes and volumes of the vertebrae. The code you sent me last summer runs fines and finds what looks like reasonable results. It outputs the resulting shapes but not the volumes. I try modifying the code to make it output the volumes but can’t make the volume and shape coincide (see snapshot).
Yves Martelly 2013-01-16
On March 8, 2013, DMS presented 3D-DXA at ECR (link). Besides the fact that it clearly shows that the members of Galgo Medcial used my software for the product DMS presented as their own, it also shows that they do not have the knowledge or expertise to develop this technology themselves.
Regarding my thesis illustrations, Josep Jofre Santamaria (Vicegerent Àrea de Recerca i Economia, no idea what this translates to) of UPF said:
Following your enquiries on the possible copyright infringement by DMS with the publication of some illustrations, and meanwhile the ownership and prerogatives are not clearly established, the research group has asked DMS to preventively remove these illustrations from their website and promotional materials.
Josep Jofre Santamaria
My lawyer explained to me that it is the operator of the PC that owns the copyrights of the illustrations. This was me and only me. I have the high resolution originals if you want proof. In a contract with UPF that we all have to sign after defending our thesis, it clearly states that the IP exploitation rights of my thesis belongs to me, while UPF holds the rights to reproduce contents for research and educational purposes only. Considering the use of my illustrations on a promotional video by a company for commercial purposes does not fall under this category, this constitutes a copyright infringement by DMS and a breach of contract by UPF.
Another clear indication of the use of my software is the refusal by UPF and Galgo Medical to submit their software to an independent software comparison, as demanded by my lawyer. There can be only one reason to refuse this, and you’re not going to like it. I will elaborate on how I navigated the road to legal action in upcoming posts.