Are Patient Monitoring Claims Patent-Eligible?

Addressing a defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, a court has held that some patent claims directed to monitoring and analyzing patient data cannot be deemed patent-ineligible at the pleading stage, while other asserted claims are patent-ineligible as a matter of law.  CardioNet, LLC v. InfoBionic, Inc., No. 1:15-cv-11803-IT (D. Mass. May 4, 2017).  The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent Nos. RE43,767, 7,212,850, 7,907,996 and 7,099,715.

Considering each of the patents in turn, the court began with the ’767 patent (“Control of Data Transmission between a Remote Monitoring Unit and a Central Unit”).  Asserted claim 9 recited “steps of providing a monitoring apparatus” that provided data from a remote patient monitoring unit to a central unit. The claims represented no “specific improvement to computer activities,” but rather “is directed to the abstract idea of gathering a limited set of patient data and then determining whether to gather additional data.” However, it was possible that “when read as an ordered combination,” claim 9 recited “an inventive concept,” because the claim “purports to improve upon prior art in the mobile cardiac telemetry field.”

The ’850 and ’996 patents, both entitled “System and Method for Processing and Presenting Arrhythmia Information to Facilitate Heart Arrhythmia Identification and Treatment,” were considered together. The asserted claims were directed to reporting arrhythmia data to identify arrhythmia events. Both claims recited, among other things, human-assessed data. The court found that the claims “are directed to the abstract idea of correlating one set of data to another.” There was no significant inventive concept because the claim systems “merely facilitate an existing practice in medicine.”

Finally, the ’715 patent (“Distributed Cardiac Activity Monitoring with Selective Filtering”) included in asserted claim reciting “a cardiac monitoring apparatus.” The court found that the asserted claim “is directed to the abstract idea of filtering rock cardiogram data to optimize its output,” and there was no “specific improvement in the existing mobile cardiac telemetry field.” However, in an interesting conclusion, the court found that there was a sufficient inventive concept “to fall within the ambit of Section 101” based on the machine-or-transformation test. The recited apparatus comprised “a variety of computer components, including a T-wave filter.” This was enough for the court to find that the claim was tied to a machine, and therefore patent-eligible.

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