Doc rejects demand to stop 'false statements'

Doc rejects demand to stop 'false statements'
Dr Ting Choon Meng says he hopes no further court action will be necessary.

A DOCTOR involved in a dispute with the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) has rejected legal demands to stop making "false statements" over the patent for a mobile medical station.

Socio-political blog The Online Citizen (TOC) has also refused to take down Dr Ting Choon Meng's allegations against Mindef from its website.

Last month, the Attorney- General's Chambers (AGC) wrote to both TOC and Dr Ting, the co-founder of medical devices firm MobileStats Technologies, asking them to stop repeating claims that Mindef had copied Dr Ting's patented concept for an emergency mobile clinic after speaking to him about it at a trade fair in 2005.

The AGC pointed out that Dr Ting's patent had already been declared invalid by a court last year and revoked.

If Dr Ting wanted to pursue his case, he should have sued the vehicle's manufacturer, Syntech Engineers, instead of Mindef, the end user.

It also rejected Dr Ting's claim that Mindef had delayed court proceedings to force him to drop his case by escalating legal costs.

The AGC said unless its requests to put an end to these allegations were met, it would apply for a court order under the Protection from Harassment Act.

But in their replies which were posted on TOC's site yesterday, lawyers for the doctor and TOC argued that Mindef does not qualify as a victim of harassment.

Dr Ting's lawyer, Mr Choo Zheng Xi, said in his letter that the Act, which which came into force here last November, was intended to protect vulnerable individuals, such as children and women, from incidents of cyberbullying or stalking.

"The Act is clearly not intended to apply to the Ministry of Defence, which has ample resources to defend itself and publicly clarify its official position via public channels," he added.

Mr Choo also pointed out that Mindef had clarified its position on its Cyberpioneer Facebook page and in The Straits Times.

He wrote that Dr Ting denies having made any "false statements" and "is unable to comply with your demands".

TOC's lawyer, Mr Eugene Thuraisingam, in a separate reply, said using the anti-harassment laws against his client would not be fair since it had published Dr Ting's statement "responsibly and without bad faith or malice".

He said TOC allowed Mindef the right to reply by publishing an article with its rebuttals to Dr Ting's claims.

He also argued that the anti-harassment laws were meant to protect people, not companies, "much less a well-resourced government institution as Mindef".

He denied that the statements Dr Ting made about Mindef in the Jan 15 article, Inventor Forced By Mindef To Close Company Over Patent Rights, were false.

When contacted, Dr Ting told The Straits Times last night: "The court case has concluded and both parties are entitled to speak their minds about what transpired. I hope no further court action will be necessary."

jermync@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Feb 11, 2015.
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