Who owns the MMSE?

Eric Widera has a comprehensive post in GeriPal blog on the attempt by the creators of the Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE) to charge physicians for the use of the dementia/impaired cognition screening tool which has been freely distributed and widely used in the past. The discussion was triggered by the publication of a NEJM commentary on the topic by John Newman and Robin Feldman. Widera concludes his post:

In the end we can see that the MMSE is indeed very much derivative of other work that predated it. This does not undermine the significance of Marshal and Susan Folstein’s work and the impact their cognitive screen has had on the care of the elderly. It does though show the hypocrisy of trying to take down material that PAR [publisher] and the Folsteins [creators] believe is derivative of their work. [material in brackets my emphasis]

Eric’s post is a comprehensive consideration of the many related issues in this case and is worth a read, especially if you are interested in intellectual property rights and how research results are used.


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