State Farm lawsuit says Amazon stole elder-care technology

  • Summary
  • Companies
  • Law firms
  • State Farm said features of Amazon’s Alexa infringe its patents
  • Amazon allegedly copied tech after meeting about potential partnership

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc used patented technology belonging to State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co to develop elder-care services for the e-commerce giant’s virtual-assistant software Alexa, State Farm said Thursday in a Delaware federal court lawsuit.

State Farm said in the lawsuit that Amazon copied aspects of its Sundial senior health-care assistance technology after meetings about integrating it with Alexa.

Amazon declined to comment. Bloomington, Illinois-based State Farm said in a statement that this was the first time the company has ever filed a patent infringement lawsuit.

State Farm said Sundial has a “virtual care hub” that allows caregivers to connect with seniors who live independently. The insurance company said it met with Amazon in 2019 and 2020 about adapting Sundial for Alexa-enabled devices.

The lawsuit alleged Amazon did not have any similar elder-care products and “saw an opportunity to copy State Farm’s pioneering, proprietary technologies and avoid the expensive and time-consuming effort that would have been necessary to develop its own innovations.”

State Farm launched Sundial in June 2020, while Amazon launched its Alexa Care Hub in November 2020 and its Alexa Together subscription service last December, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit accuses Amazon of copying technology including Sundial’s check-in and monitoring features, its “circle of friends” for coordinating caregiver responsibilities, and a chatbot for seniors to interact with the platform.

State Farm also accused Amazon of engaging in a “pattern of anticompetitive behavior” toward its former partners.

“This is just the latest example of Amazon unfairly using its widespread platform and global scale to siphon other companies’ innovations for its own gain,” State Farm said.

The case is State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co v. Amazon.com Inc, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, No. 1:22-cv-01447.

For State Farm: Michael De Vries, Adam Alper, Akshay Deoras, Kat Li and Leslie Schmidt of Kirkland & Ellis

For Amazon: attorney information not available

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Blake Brittain

Thomson Reuters

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

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