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June, 21st, 2017
In Cardionet, LLC, v. Infobionic, Inc. the District Court of Massachusetts held that a claim for optimizing the transmission of patient data constituted patent eligible subject matter. The patent disclosed and claimed a method and system for the optimization of the transmission of patient data between components of a computerized system to make the process of remote patient monitoring more efficient.
The court applied the two-step Alice test to determine if the claims were directed to patent eligible subject matter. Applying the first-step, the court determined that the heart of the matter was using computers as tools to perform the abstract idea of monitoring patient data. Thus, the Court held that claims were directed to an abstract idea, and it moved to the second-step of the Alice analysis.
Applying the second step of Alice, the court considered whether the claim contained an inventive concept that made the claim more than just the ineligible abstract idea. The claim in question contained entirely ‘well-known generic computer components,’ which when taken individually would be invalid. However, that is not enough to make a patent invalid under 101. When viewed as a whole, the claim was not invalid because it improved upon previous technology. The court explained that the claim did not introduce the concept of remote patient monitoring, but instead, added selectivity in determining what data would be transmitted to the central unit, improving the efficiency of the system. Thus, it was not the individual components of the system, but the order of the individual components, that made the claim successful. The court pointed to the specification for evidence of what the claim purported to do. For example, the specification pointed out both the shortcomings of the old method of remote patient monitoring, and how the new inventive concept would overcome and solve those problems.
(1) When drafting a specification consider including an identification of the prior art and its relevant disadvantages. A comparison of the new claims to old conventional methods can support the new claims as eligible subject matter.
(2) When drafting claims to computer technology consider specifying the order of claimed steps and describing in the specification why that order is important and novel.
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