I came across a case where a Doctor A found a new medical score calculation which was used by another Doctor B with no permission.
Let's try to explain the situation (EDIT+++) :
- Doctor A published a scientific article in which he describes how to calculate the score
- Doctor B contacts Doctor B and ask him whether he could translate his score and use it
- Doctor A answers that it is copyrighted but for this time it is OK
- Doctor B translates it and publishes the translation, but did not acknowledge Doctor A.
- a lot of doctors used the score and everyone recieved a complain from Doctor A about the copyright
I couldn't read the article Doctor B published but I assume he calculated the score for some of his patients and outputed some results in some study (cannot think about something else to happen).
I'd think even if the name of the score can be copyrighted (under a trademark ?), the calculation of the score itself could be assimilated to an algorythm and then not be licenceable under a copyright.
As it is not something material, I assume a score is not patentable either (and even so, it is published and not patented).
What Dr B did is bad and he should feel bad, but since I'm not sure such an algorithm is copyrightable, is this really illegal ?
NB : I'm a medical student, not a law student, but this case could have a non-neglectable effect if provent true.
NB for non medics : a medical score is a little calculus that help you grade the severity of a condition. Let's say you take red cells, multiply by the age and add the wheight, and depending on the result you have a nice/bad/very bad cancer. The doctor can then adapt the treatment on the score.