Patent Troll Uses Theranos Patents to Sue Company Developing COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests

Patent trolls Fortress Investment Group are suing BioFire Diagnostics LLC, claiming that BioFire’s recently announced COVID-19 diagnostic tests were created with technologies that violate patents that Fortress obtained from Theranos in 2018.

Because of course they are. According to TechDirt’s excellent summary of the situation,

However, back in 2018, the remains of Theranos sold its patents to Fortress Investment Group. Fortress Investment Group is a SoftBank-funded massive patent troll. You may remember the name from the time last fall when Apple and Intel sued the firm, laying out how Fortress is a sort of uber-patent troll, gathering up a bunch of patents and then shaking down basically everyone. Lovely, right?

So, this SoftBank-owned patent troll, Fortress, bought up Theranos patents, and then set up this shell company, “Labrador Diagnostics,” which decided that right in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic it was going to sue one of the companies making Covid-19 tests, saying that its test violates those Theranos patents, and literally demanding that the court bar the firm from making those Covid-19 tests.

A bit more background here: the company they’re suing, BioFire, recently launched three Covid-19 tests built off of the company’s FilmArray technology. And that’s what “Labrador” (read: SoftBank) is now suing over.

Tim Draper’s Poor Ethical Standards

Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of college at the age of 19 to start Theranos, a company that promised to revolutionize blood testing but was, in fact, one giant fraud. In June 2018, Holmes was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud against Theranos investors; conspiracy to commit wire fraud against doctors and Theranos patients, and nine separate counts of actual wire fraud (read the full indictment – 4mb PDF).

And yet when asked if, given all he knows now, if he would still back a company she founded, early Theranos investor Tim Draper said yes, he would,

Bloomberg reporter Sarah McBride asked Tim Draper — a venture capitalist, enthusiastic Bitcoin supporter, and one of Theranos’ first investors — whether he would back Holmes again. Draper responded to the question by saying, “I’d back her as chief science officer, not CEO. Good question,” according to a short Twitter thread from L.A. Times reporter Sam Dean.

Draper would still back a fraud who put people’s health at risk through bogus blood tests as a chief science officer.

Draper is either a moron, a moral monster, or both.

Jason Calacanis Interviews The Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou on Theranos

The rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos–and the apparent sheer corruption at the company’s core–will certainly be the subject of many books in the next few years, but this interview with The Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou is a fascinating introduction to the scandal. Carreyrou played a major role in exposing Theranos, to the point where he was targeted by the company and its employees for his reporting.

This anecdote about an all-hands meeting at Theranos from a Vanity Fair profile of Holmes gives an idea of just how much Carreyrou was hated by the company,

After he wrapped up, the leaders of Theranos stood before their employees and surveyed the room. Then a chant erupted. “Fuck you . . .,” employees began yelling in unison, “Carreyrou.” It began to grow louder still. “Fuck you, Carreyrou!” Soon men and women in lab coats, and programmers in T-shirts and jeans, joined in. They were chanting with fervor: “Fuck you, Carreyrou!,” they cried out. “Fuck you, Carreyrou! Fuck. You. Carrey-rou!”