Cardionet, LLC et al v. Infobionic, Inc.
Judge Indira Talwani: ORDER entered. MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ALLOWING IN PART and DENYING IN PART 281 MOTION for Judgment on the Pleadings (Renewed).Counsel shall promptly confer as to whether Claim 31 and Claim 12 are representative of all claims of the 850 and 996 Patents asserted by Plaintiffs, and shall jointly notify the court as to their positions. If no agreement is reached, the parties Notice shall include a proposed briefing schedule as to this issue. (DaSilva, Carolina)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
CARDIONET, LLC, and BRAEMAR
Civil Action No. 1:15-cv-11803-IT
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
May 4, 2017
Before this court is Defendant InfoBionic’s Renewed Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings that All Asserted Claims of U.S. Patent Nos. RE43,767, 7,212,850, 7,907,996 and
7,099,715 Are Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101 [#281] as to four of the six patents asserted in this
action by Plaintiffs CardioNet, LLC, and Braemar Manufacturing, LLC. For the following
reasons, the motion is ALLOWED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
CardioNet provides “ambulatory outpatient management solutions for monitoring clinical
information regarding an individual’s health.” CardioNet alleges rights in and to six patents,
including four that are the subject of the pending motion: (1) U.S. Patent No. 7,212,850 (“’850
Patent”); U.S. Patent 7,907,996 (“’996 Patent”); U.S. Patent No. RE43,767 (“’767 Patent”) 1; and
U.S. Patent No. 7,099,715 (“’715 Patent”).2
The ’767 Patent is a reissue of U.S. Patent No. 6,694,177.
Cardionet alleges original ownership of the patents by assignment of all rights, titles, and
interests. In 2012, CardioNet assigned its rights, titles, and interests in and to the patents to
Plaintiffs filed this action on May 8, 2015, and filed a Third Amended Complaint [#279]
on March 20, 2017, alleging, inter alia, that Defendant’s remote cardiac arrhythmia detection
and monitoring platform, MoMe® Kardia, infringes on their patents. Defendant’s renewed
motion for judgment on the pleadings followed.3
Pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “a party may move for
judgment on the pleadings” “[a]fter the pleadings are closed—but early enough not to delay
trial.” The court considers a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings much in the same
manner as a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, Marrero-Gutierrez v. Molina, 491 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir.
2007), except that a motion for judgment on the pleadings “implicates the pleadings as a whole,”
not only the complaint. Aponte-Torres v. Univ. of P.R., 445 F.3d 50, 55 (1st Cir. 2006).4 The
court construes the well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true and draws all reasonable
inferences in favor of the non-moving party.5 See Marrero-Gutierrez, 491 F.3d at 5. As with a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion, “a court may enter judgment on the pleadings only if the uncontested and
properly considered facts conclusively establish the movant’s entitlement to a favorable
judgment.” Aponte-Torres, 445 F.3d at 54.
Braemar, and Braemar granted CardioNet an exclusive license to make, use, offer to sell, sell,
import, license, and exploit the patents.
The court denied without prejudice Defendant’s original motion for judgment on the pleadings
after Plaintiffs filed their Third Amended Complaint but advised the parties that it would treat all
memoranda and exhibits previously filed in support of and in opposition to Defendant’s original
motion as filed in support of or opposition to a renewed motion. Order [#280].
The Federal Circuit “follow[s] the procedural law of the regional circuit” when reviewing a
grant or denial of a motion for judgment on the pleadings. Allergan, Inc. v. Athena Cosmetics,
Inc., 640 F.3d 1377, 1380 (Fed. Cir. 2011).
As Plaintiffs have filed and briefed their claim construction contentions, the court relies on
Plaintiffs’ proposed construction of the claims for the purposes of this motion, rather than the
hypothetical “narrowest construction” as Plaintiffs urged at oral argument.
Defendant asserts that the claims cited in the complaint as to four of the patents do not
define subject matter that is eligible for patenting under Section 101 of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C.
§ 101. Defendant argues that the claims are directed to abstract ideas and mental processes used
by physicians in monitoring patients and analyzing patient data and that these abstract ideas are
not transformed by inventive concepts.
A. Section 101
Section 101 provides that “[w]hoever invents or discovers any new and useful process,
machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof,
may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.” The
provision includes “an important implicit exception: Laws of nature, natural phenomena, and
abstract ideas are not patentable.” Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347, 2354
(2014) (quoting Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 2107, 2116
(2013)). Since laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas are regarded as “the basic
tools of scientific and technological work,” their monopolization potentially would hinder
innovation and thus frustrate the very purpose of patent laws. Id. (quoting Myriad, 133 S. Ct. at
2116). In Alice, the Supreme Court set forth a two-stage framework for determining whether a
claim falls outside this exception and thus is eligible for patent protection. 134 S. Ct. at 2355
(citing Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., 132 S. Ct. 1289 (2012)).
1. First Stage of the Alice Analysis
In the first stage, the court “determine[s] whether the claims at issue are directed to” one
of the three patent-ineligible concepts: laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas.
Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2355. The “directed to” inquiry asks not whether “the claims involve a
patent-ineligible concept” but instead whether, “considered in light of the specification, . . . ‘their
character as a whole is directed to excluded subject matter.’” Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp.,
822 F.3d 1327, 1335 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (quoting Internet Patents Corp. v. Active Network, Inc.,
790 F.3d 1343, 1346 (Fed. Cir. 2015)).
In determining whether computerized technology is directed to an abstract idea, the court
“asks whether the focus of the claims is on the specific asserted improvement in computer
capabilities . . . or, instead, on a process that qualifies as an ‘abstract idea’ for which computers
are invoked merely as a tool.” Id., at 1335-36. If “the plain focus of the claims is on an
improvement to computer functionality itself,” it is not directed to an abstract idea. Id. at 1336.
However, if the “claims ‘simply add conventional computer components to well-known
business practices,’ . . . or ‘a purely conventional computer implementation of a mathematical
formula,’ or ‘generalized steps to be performed on a computer using conventional computer
activity,” it is directed to an abstract idea. In re TLI Commc’ns LLC Patent Litig., 823 F.3d 607,
612 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (quoting Enfish, 822 F.3d at 1338).
For example, in Enfish, the Federal Circuit concluded that the claimed invention—a
logical model for self-referential database tables—was not directed to an abstract idea but instead
“directed to a specific improvement to the way computers operate.” 822 F.3d at 1336. The court
later explained that the claims in Enfish “focused not on asserted advances in uses to which
existing computer capabilities could be put, but on a specific improvement—a particular
database technique—in how computers could carry out one of their basic functions of storage
and retrieval of data.” Elec. Power Grp., LLC v. Alstom S.A., 830 F.3d 1350, 1354 (Fed. Cir.
2016) (citing Enfish, 822 F.3d at 1335-36).
The Federal Circuit reached a different conclusion in Bascom Global Internet Services,
Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, in which the claimed invention “provide[d] individually
customizable filtering at the remote ISP [Internet Service Provider] server by taking advantage of
the technical capability of certain communication networks.” 827 F.3d 1341, 1344 (Fed. Cir.
2016). The invention advanced prior art by preventing end-users from modifying or thwarting
the filters to access prohibited websites, allowing end users to customize their filtering rules, and
installing the filters at the ISP server. Id. Despite these specific improvements, the court
concluded that the claims were directed to the abstract idea of filtering content. Id. at 1348.
Unlike the Enfish claims, which “were unambiguously directed to an improvement in computer
capabilities,” id. at 1349, the Bascom claims were directed to “a longstanding, well-known
method of organizing human behavior,” id. at 1348.
If, at the first stage of the Alice analysis, the court concludes that the claim is not directed
to a patent-ineligible concept, it is considered patent eligible under Section 101 and the inquiry
ends. Rapid Litig. Mgmt. Ltd. v. CellzDirect, Inc., 827 F.3d 1042, 1047 (Fed. Cir. 2016).
However, if the court concludes that the claim is directed to an abstract idea, the court proceeds
to the second stage of the Alice analysis. Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2355.
2. Second Stage of the Alice Analysis
At the second stage, the court “consider[s] the elements of each claim both individually
and ‘as an ordered combination’ to determine whether the additional elements ‘transform the
nature of the claim’ into a patent-eligible application.” Id. (quoting Mayo, 132 S. Ct. at 1297,
1298). In so doing, the court “search[es] for an ‘inventive concept’—i.e., an element or
combination of elements that is ‘sufficient to ensure that the patent in practice amounts to
significantly more than a patent upon the [ineligible concept] itself.’” Id. (quoting Mayo, 132 S.
Ct. at 1294)). Under the machine-or-transformation test, a concept may be inventive if “(1) it is
tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or (2) it transforms a particular article into a different
state or thing.” Bilski v. Kappos, 561 U.S. 593, 600 (2010) (quoting In re Bilski, 545 F.3d 943,
954 (Fed. Cir. 2008)). While not the exclusive test for determining patent eligibility, “the
machine-or-transformation test is a useful and important clue, an investigative tool, for
determining whether some claimed inventions are processes under § 101.” Id. at 604.
“It is well-settled that mere recitation of concrete, tangible components is insufficient to
confer patent eligibility to an otherwise abstract idea.” TLI, 823 F.3d at 613. However, “an
inventive concept can be found in the non-conventional and non-generic arrangement of known,
conventional pieces.” Bascom, 827 F.3d at 1350. With respect to patents claiming computerized
technology, “the mere recitation of a generic computer cannot transform a patent-ineligible
abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention,” and “limiting the use of an abstract idea ‘to a
particular technological environment’” is insufficient to render the subject matter patent eligible.
Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2358 (quoting Bilski, 561 U.S. at 610-11).
B. The Patents
1. ’767 Patent
The ’767 Patent, titled “Control of Data Transmission Between a Remote Monitoring
Unit and a Central Unit,” is directed to monitoring patient data and determining when additional
data is needed, by optimizing the transmission of patient data between components of a
computerized system. U.S. Patent No. RE43,767 col. 1 ll. 56-65 (reissued Oct. 23, 2012).
According to the specifications, the existing approach of immediately and automatically
transferring physiological data wastes the battery power of the remote monitoring unit, requires
excessive data transfer time over the cellular telephone system, and uses medical personnel’s
time inefficiently. Id. at col. 1 ll. 29-47. The claimed invention aims to solve this problem by
selectively, rather than automatically, transmitting patient data. Id. at col. 3 ll. 5-9. The central
unit analyzes the initial transmitted data to determine whether additional data is required. Id. at
col. 2 ll. 26-30. The central unit also determines when such additional data should be transmitted,
depending whether an emergency exists. Id. at col. 2 ll. 32-34. The specification states that the
advantages over prior art include the more judicious use of battery power, reduced cellular
telephone connect time, and better managed medical personnel time. Id. at col. 1 ll. 62-65.
Claim 9, the only claim cited in the complaint, reads in its entirety:
A method of monitoring a patient, comprising the steps of providing a monitoring
a remote monitoring unit associated with the patient,
a central unit, and
a communications device which selectively establishes a communications
link between the remote monitoring unit and the central unit;
the remote monitoring unit obtaining a monitored data set for the patient;
the remote monitoring unit establishing a communications link with the
the remote monitoring unit transmitting to the central unit an initially
transmitted data set related to the monitored data set;
the central unit analyzing the initially transmitted data set to determine
whether an additional data set related to the monitored data set is
required to be transmitted by the remote monitoring unit;
the central unit, when the additional data set related to the monitored data
set is required, instructing the remote monitoring unit that the
additional data set is to be transmitted from the remote monitoring
unit to the central unit and instructing as to a time at which the
additional data set is to be transmitted; and
the remote monitoring unit transmitting the additional data set to the
central unit at the time instructed by the central unit based on
initially transmitted data set received from the remote monitoring
Id. at col. 8 ll. 1-30.
a. Abstract Idea
Defendant argues that Claim 9 is directed to a method of organizing human activity—
specifically, “the age-old concept of gathering a limited set of patient data and then determining
whether it is necessary to gather additional data.” Plaintiffs contend that the claimed invention is
not an abstract idea because it is directed to an improvement in data transfer architecture.
However, Plaintiffs fail to show that the focus of the claims is on the specific asserted
improvement to computer capabilities. A review of the patent specifications reveals that the heart
of the claim is directed to using computers as tools to perform the abstract idea of monitoring
patient data. The remote monitoring unit obtaining a monitored dataset for the patient is akin to a
nurse monitoring a patient’s vital signs. Establishing a communications link is akin to the nurse
and physician approaching one another to speak or sending an electronic note, an email, or a fax.
The remote monitoring unit transmitting the initial data set is similar to a nurse who selectively
provides the physician with information about his or her findings. The units’ analysis of the
dataset is analogous to the mental process that the physician performs. When the remote
monitoring unit sends additional data to the central unit, at its instruction, the units replace the
need for a nurse to provide additional information at the physician’s request.
Accordingly, Claim 9 reflects the mental analysis that medical professionals long have
performed. See Elec. Power Grp., 830 F.3d at 1354 (“[W]e have treated analyzing information
by steps people go through in their minds, or by mathematical algorithms, without more, as
essentially mental processes within the abstract-idea category.”); cf. Content Extraction &
Transmission LLC v. Wells Fargo Bank, Nat. Ass’n, 776 F.3d 1343, 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2014)
(concluding that a claim was directed to “collecting data, . . . recognizing certain data within the
collected data set, and . . . storing that recognized data in a memory” because “humans have
always performed these functions”).
Consequently, the court finds that Claim 9 is directed to the abstract idea of gathering a
limited set of patient data and then determining whether to gather additional data. Having made
this determination, the court proceeds to the second stage of the Alice analysis.
b. Inventive Concept
Defendant argues that the remote monitoring unit, central unit, and communications
device recited in Claim 9 are generic computer components that add nothing inventive to the
underlying abstract idea. Indeed, considering each limitation individually, an inventive concept
cannot be found. See, e.g., Bascom, 827 F.3d at 1349 (deeming the limitations “local client
computer,” “remote ISP server,” “Internet computer network,” and “controlled access network
accounts” to be “well-known generic computer components,” when taken individually).
However, since “[t]he ‘inventive concept’ may arise in one or more of the individual claim
limitations or in the ordered combination of the limitation,” the “inquiry requires more than
recognizing that each claim element, by itself, was known in the art.” Id. at 1349, 1350
The claims in Bascom, which “recite[d] a specific, discrete implementation of the
abstract idea of filtering content,” are instructive. Id. at 1350. When considering the claims as an
ordered combination, the Federal Circuit concluded that claims could contain an inventive
concept. Id. at 1350-51. The court noted that “[f]iltering content on the Internet was already a
known concept, and the patent describes how its particular arrangement of elements is a
technical improvement over prior art ways of filtering such content.” Id. at 1350. In so doing, the
court noted that the claims did more than “recite the abstract idea of filtering content along with
the requirement to perform it on the Internet, or to perform it on a set of generic computer
components,” which would not disclose an inventive concept. Id.
Similarly, Claim 9 does not introduce the concept of remote patient monitoring, but it
purports to improve upon prior art in the mobile cardiac telemetry field by taking advantage of “a
communications device which selectively establishes a communications link between the remote
monitoring unit and the central unit.” U.S. Patent No. RE43,767 col. 8 ll. 5-8. In so doing, Claim
9 purports to “adopt a new data transfer architecture with improved selectivity of data
transmission but retention of the data accumulation capability to build the patient history and
also the emergency capability to assist the patient on an urgent basis when needed.” Id. at col. 1
ll. 55-62. Much like the claims in Bascom, Claim 9 purports to improve upon the previous
technology, which did not allow for selectivity in determining the data set that would be
transmitted to the central unit. Id. col. 1 ll. 44-48. As in Bascom, the patent is “more than a
drafting effort to monopolize the [abstract idea].” 827 F.3d at 1350 (quoting Alice, 134 S. Ct. at
2357). Therefore, when read as an ordered combination, the court cannot determine as a matter
of law that Claim 9 lacks an inventive concept.
2. ’850 and ’996 Patents
The ’850 and ’996 Patents, titled “System and Method for Processing and Presenting
Arrhythmia Information to Facilitate Heart Arrhythmia Identification and Treatment,” share an
identical specification and are directed to a system and method of reporting arrhythmia events in
physiological data. U.S. Patent No. 7,212,850 col. 1 ll. 36-49 (filed May 1, 2007); U.S. Patent
No. 7,907,996 col. 1 ll. 39-54 (filed Mar. 15, 2011). The system receives arrhythmia information
both from a computer and from user input from a monitoring system. U.S. Patent No. 7,212,850
col. 9 ll. 40-60; U.S. Patent No. 7,907,996 col. 1 ll. 55-67. The system pictographically presents
selective information regarding the heart rate data during a defined time period, based on the
measure of correlation between the computer-generated and the human-assessed data. U.S.
Patent No. 7,212,850 col. 1 ll. 40-49; U.S. Patent No. 7,907,996 col. 1 ll. 40-49. The
specifications provide that, by employing pictographic presentations, the claimed invention
offers advantages over prior art; it purports to help medical practitioners determine whether a
patient is more likely to experience an arrhythmia event at certain times of the day, and the
correlation of two sets of data is said to improve the accuracy of the pictographic representation.
U.S. Patent No. 7,212,850 col 1. ll. 50-65; U.S. Patent No. 7,907,996 col. 1 ll. 50-65.
Claim 31 of the ’850 Patent, the only claim cited in the complaint, reads in its entirety:
A system for reporting information related to arrhythmia events comprising
a monitoring system configured to process and report physiological data,
including heart rate data, for a living being and configured to identify
arrhythmia events from the physiological data;
a monitoring station for receiving the physiological data from the
a processing system configured to receive arrhythmia information from
the monitoring system and configured to receive human-assessed
arrhythmia information from the monitoring station wherein the
human-assessed arrhythmia information derives from at least a
portion of the physiological data and wherein the processing system is
capable of pictographically presenting, using a common time scale,
information regarding the heart rate data during a defined time period
and regarding duration of arrhythmia event activity, according to the
identified arrhythmia events, during the defined time period such that
heart rate trend is presented with arrhythmia event burden.
Id. at col. 9 ll. 40-60.
Claim 12 of the ’996 Patent, the only claim cited in the complaint, reads in its entirety:
An article comprising a machine-readable medium embodying information
indicative of instructions that when performed by one or more machines result in
identifying atrial fibrillation events in physiological data obtained for a
living being, wherein identifying atrial fibrillation events comprises
examining the physiological data in multiple time intervals, and
identifying intervals in which at least one atrial fibrillation event has
obtaining heart rate data for the living being;
receiving a human assessment of a subset of the identified atrial
fibrillation events; and
based on the human assessment of the subset of the identified atrial
fibrillation events, pictographically presenting, using a common time
scale, information regarding the heart rate data for the multiple time
intervals during a defined time period in alignment with indications of
atrial fibrillation activity for the identified intervals, according to the
identified atrial fibrillation events, during the defined time period
such that heart rate trend is presented with atrial fibrillation burden,
wherein pictographically presenting information regarding the heart
rate data comprises displaying for each of the multiple time intervals
a range of heart rates and a heart rate average.
U.S. Patent No. 7,907,996 col. 6 l. 53-col. 7 l. 12.
a. Abstract Idea
Defendant argues that Claim 31 of the ’850 Patent and Claim 12 of the ’996 Patent “are
directed to the common-sense abstract idea of checking data from a medical device against
human assessments to ensure accuracy before displaying the data in a convenient format.”
Claim 31 of the ’850 Patent and Claim 12 of the ’996 Patent, read in conjunction with the
patent specifications, recite a system that receives computer-generated “arrhythmia information
from the monitoring system and . . . human-assessed arrhythmia information from the monitoring
station,” U.S. Patent No. 7,212,850 col. 9 ll. 48-51, to “selectively present information
regarding the identified events based on the measure of correlation” between the two sets of
information, U.S. Patent No. 7,907,996 col. 1 ll. 45-47. The claimed system is analogous to a
medical professional analyzing the physiological data and comparing his or her assessment with
a colleague’s second opinion. The medical professional also consolidates his or her assessment
with that of his or her colleague, based on the same physiological data, to arrive at a more
accurate diagnosis. This suggests that the claims are directed to the abstract idea of “a
longstanding, well-known method of organizing human behavior,” where a computer only
facilitates such existing practices. Bascom, 827 F.3d at 1348.
These claims are similar to the claim in Digitech Image Techs., LLC v. Elecs. for
Imaging, Inc., 758 F.3d 1344 (Fed. Cir. 2014). In Digitech, the claim at issue read:
A method of generating a device profile that describes properties of a device in a
digital image reproduction system for capturing, transforming or rendering an
image, said method comprising:
generalizing first data for describing a device dependent transformation of
color information content of the image to a device independent
color space through use of measured chromatic stimuli and device
response characteristic functions;
generating second data for describing a device dependent transformation
of spatial information content of the image in said device
independent color space through use of spatial stimuli and device
response characteristic functions; and
combining said first and second data into the device profile.
Id. at 1351 (quoting patent-at-issue). The Federal Circuit concluded that the claim was an
“ineligible abstract process of gathering and combining data” and that “the two data sets and the
resulting device profile are ineligible subject matter.” Id. Like the claim in Digitech, the process
in Claim 31 of the ’850 Patent and Claim 12 of the ’996 Patent of “manipulat[ing] existing
information to generate additional information is not patent eligible.” Id. Claim 31 of the ’850
Patent and Claim 12 of the ’996 Patent point to a system that combines computer-generated data
with human-generated data to produce a pictographic representation.
Plaintiffs argue that Defendant relies on an overly broad construction of the claim by
describing it as a correlation of the two sets of data. According to Plaintiffs, the claims are
directed to specific inventions in the mobile cardiac telemetry field, similar to the claims in
Enfish. However, Claim 31 of the ’850 Patent and Claim 12 of the ’996 Patent are
distinguishable from those at issue in Enfish. In Enfish, the claimed invention sought to improve
a specific computer functionality—namely, the existing logical model of generating data table.
822 F.3d at 1330. Additionally, the specifications explicitly provided that the patented invention
was an improvement to the conventional database structure. Id. at 1337. In contrast, Plaintiffs do
not point to an existing computer functionality that the claimed invention seeks to improve but
instead argue that the claimed invention improves the entire field of mobile telemetry. Further,
rather than describing the claimed invention as a specific computer functionality, the
specifications for the ’850 and ’996 Patents describe them as improvements to “a system for
reporting information.” U.S. Patent No. 7,212,850 col. 2 ll. 25-26; U.S. Patent No. 7,907,996 col.
2 ll. 30-31. Furthermore, the specifications simply point out that this patented system “can be
implemented using, for example, the CardioNet Mobile Cardiac Outpatient Telemetry (MCOT)
device.” U.S. Patent No. 7,212,850 col. 2 ll. 40-44; U.S. Patent No. 7,907,996 col. 2 ll. 45-48
For these reasons, the court finds that Claim 31 of the ’850 Patent and Claim 12 of the
’996 Patent are directed to the abstract idea of correlating one set of data to another.
b. Inventive Concept
Defendant argues that Claim 31 of the ’850 Patent and Claim 12 of the ’996 Patent do not
add an inventive concept because they “recite only conventional hardware or routine steps” such
as a “monitoring system,” “monitoring station,” “processing system” and “software.” Plaintiffs
argue that an ordered combination of the limitations may still provide an inventive concept but
they fail to articulate it; they point instead to findings by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that
Defendant “failed to demonstrate a reasonable likelihood of establishing the unpatentability of
[the] claims.” (Internal quotation marks omitted.) However, these findings relate to challenges to
patentability under Section 103 of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. § 103, not under Section 101.
InfoBionic, Inc. v. Braemer [sic] Mfg., LLC, No. IPR2015-01705 (P.T.A.B. Feb. 16, 2016);
InfoBionic, Inc. v. Braemer [sic] Mfg., LLC, No. IPR2015-01704 (P.T.A.B. Feb. 16, 2016).
Claim 31 of the ’850 Patent and Claim 12 of the ’996 Patent purport to provide for a
scheme that generates a graphic presentation of the combined data by instituting a monitoring
system that receives data inputs from a computer, a physician, and a processing system that can
correlate the two sets of data. U.S. Patent No. 7,212,850 col. 1 ll. 50-65; id. at col. 9 ll. 40-60;
U.S. Patent No. 7,907,996 col. 1 ll. 55-67. However, medical professionals long have analyzed
physiological data, sought a second opinion to improve accuracy, and identified arrhythmia
events from the physiological data. Therefore, the system merely “automate[s] or otherwise
make[s] more efficient” traditional methods or techniques existing in the medical field. OIP
Techs., Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 788 F.3d 1359, 1363 (Fed. Cir. 2015). While the process
certainly would require greater effort without the patented invention, the streamlining of the
process, without more, is insufficient to add an inventive concept to an otherwise patentineligible abstract idea.
The system that Claim 31 of the ’850 Patent and Claim 12 of the ’996 Patent describe
differs from the one in Bascom. In that case, the Federal Circuit concluded that “the installation
of a filtering tool at a specific location, remote from the end-users, with customizable filtering
features specific to each end user,” which “[took] advantage of the ability of at least some ISPs
to identify individual accounts that communicate with the ISP server, and to associate a request
for Internet content with a specific individual account” added an inventive concept. Bascom, 827
F.3d at 1350. In contrast, Claim 31 of the ’850 Patent and Claim 12 of the ’996 Patent, when
considered in their ordered combination, do not harness any particular technical feature of the
monitoring system or the processing system. These systems merely facilitate an existing practice
Plaintiffs argue that the claims at issue add an inventive concept because the process
requires “a monitoring system” and “a processing system.” However, a system does not
encompass an inventive concept just because it involves a computer system. Bascom, 827 F.3d at
1349. “In order for the addition of a machine to impose a meaningful limit on the scope of a
claim, it must play a significant part in permitting the claimed method to be performed, rather
than function solely as an obvious mechanism for permitting a solution to be achieved more
quickly.” SiRF Tech., Inc. v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, 601 F.3d 1319, 1333 (Fed. Cir. 2010). For
example, in SiRF Tech., the Federal Circuit determined that the claimed GPS receiver, which
translated a plurality of satellite signals into a second format supported by the remote receiver,
provided a meaningful restriction on the scope of the claim because the task could not be
performed without the machine. 601 F.3d at 1332-33. In contrast, physicians routinely have
translated cardiac data into diagnostic information or pictographic representations. Plaintiff’s
argument that physicians cannot use their mental capacity or a pen and paper to perform the
same task conflates inefficiency with impossibility.
For these reasons, the court finds that Claim 31 of the ’850 Patent and Claim 12 of the
’996 Patent do not add an inventive concept sufficient to be patent-eligible subject matter under
3. ’715 Patent
The ’715 Patent, titled “Distributed Cardiac Activity Monitoring with Selective
Filtering,” is directed to optimizing the identification of R waves in the QRS complex of an
electrocardiogram by selectively activating a T wave filter. U.S. Patent No. 7,009,715 col.1 ll.
17-31 (issued Aug. 29, 2006). Because the morphology of a cardiac signal varies significantly
among different patients, when
the patient’s ECG has a very tall T wave, [it] might result in false classification of
[the] T wave as an R wave. When this happens, the heart rate reported by the
apparatus may be twice the real heart rate, and the morphology of beats may not
be detected correctly.
Id. at col. 3 ll. 52-57. The specifications provide that the claimed invention solves this problem
by selectively activating a T wave filter to “reduce the amplitude of T waves, while preserving or
slightly increasing the amplitude of R waves.” Id. at col. 3 ll. 58-60. The claimed invention
includes “a monitoring apparatus, with a selectively activated T wave filter, and a monitoring
station.” Id. at col. 1 ll. 29-31.
Claim 20 of ’715 Patent, the only claim cited in the complaint, reads in its entirety:
A cardiac monitoring apparatus comprising:
a communications interface;
a real-time heart beat detector;
a T wave filter frequency domain; and
a selector that activates the T wave filter frequency domain with respect to
the real-time heart beat detector in response to a message, wherein the
activated T wave filter frequency domain preprocesses a cardiac
signal provided to the real-time heart beat detector.
Id. at col. 7 ll. 45-53.
a. Abstract Idea
Defendant argues that “[t]he ‘715 Patent is directed to the common abstract idea of
filtering patient heartbeat signals when necessary to increase accuracy and expressly
contemplates that a person makes the decision to do so.” Indeed, Claim 20, read in conjunction
with the specifications, reveals a system where a system operator, upon identifying an abnormal
T wave, sends a message to the monitoring apparatus through a communication channel, which
in turn activates a T wave filter. U.S. Patent No. 7,009,715 col. 4 ll. 61-64. Without the claimed
invention, a medical professional performs a two-step analysis in identifying an R wave in an
electrocardiogram. First, the medical professional determines that an individual patient’s
electrocardiogram shows an unusually strong T wave. Second, the medical professional
manually identifies the R wave from the T wave, using pen and paper. The claimed invention
still relies on a system operator to identify electrocardiograms with an unusually strong T wave,
but it automates the second step in the analysis by amplifying the R wave but not the T wave
using a T wave filter. Improvements, such as the claimed invention, that only “automate or
otherwise make more efficient” existing technology in the medical field are abstract ideas. OIP
Techs., 788 F.3d at 1363.
Furthermore, much like the invention in TLI, which confines “the abstract idea of
classifying and storing digital images in an organized manner” to “a mobile telephone system,”
823 F.3d at 613, the invention here simply limits the abstract idea of filtering raw data to
increase its accuracy to the computerized mobile telemetry system. Such limitations alone “do
not make the claims any less abstract” in the first stage of the Alice analysis. Id.
Plaintiffs argue that Claim 20 “is directed to a specific technological invention in the
mobile cardiac telemetry field using a special-purpose cardiac monitoring apparatus” similar to
the one in Enfish. However, this is an overly expansive reading of Enfish. In Enfish, the Federal
Circuit held that claims that “are directed to an improvement to computer functionality” are
patent eligible. 822 F.3d at 1335 (emphasis added). Plaintiffs do not point to any specific
computer functionality that the claimed invention purportedly improves, as the claims did in
Enfish. Again, Plaintiffs argue that the invention is an improvement to the field of cardiac
telemetry. Such a reading would allow any improvement to any field to bypass the abstract idea
limitation and render it meaningless.
Plaintiffs further argue that Claim 20 is similar to the claim at issue in SiRF. However, in
SiRF, the court analyzed the issue of patent eligibility of the subject matter based on the
machine-or-transformation test. 601 F.3d at 1332-33. This analysis is relevant to the second stage
of the Alice inquiry, not the first.
Consequently, the court finds that Claim 20 is directed to the abstract idea of filtering raw
cardiogram data to optimize its output, rather than a specific improvement in the existing mobile
cardiac telemetry field. Accordingly, the court proceeds to the second stage of the Alice analysis.
b. Inventive Concept
Defendant argues that the use of T wave filter does not provide a meaningful limitation
on the scope of the patented claim because “using a T wave filter is well-understood ‘activity
previously engaged in by [those] who work in the [medical] field.’” (Quoting Mayo, 132 S. Ct. at
1298). This argument conflates the first stage of the Alice analysis with the second. Whether a
patented invention is a longstanding human activity pertains to whether that claim is directed to
an abstract idea, Bascom 827 F.3d at 1348, rather than whether that claim contains a sufficiently
inventive concept to transform the abstract idea into patent-eligible subject matter.
Defendant argues that Claim 9 fails to meet the “machine prong” of the machine-ortransformation test because generic computer components, such as standard communications
technology, are not tied to a “machine.” But a “machine” constitutes “a concrete thing,
consisting of parts, or of certain devices and combination of devices.” In re Ferguson, 558 F.3d
1359, 1364 (Fed. Cir. 2009) (quoting In re Nuijten, 500 F.3d 1346, 1355 (Fed. Cir. 2007)). “This
‘includes every mechanical device or combination of mechanical powers and devices to perform
some function and produce a certain effect or result.’” Id. (quoting In re Nuijten, 500 F.3d at
1355). A T wave filter by itself, or as a part of generic computer components programmed in
some unspecified way, falls within this definition of “machine.”
The use of T wave filter is similar to the use of GPS receiver in the patented claim at
issue in SiRF. In SiRF, the Federal Circuit concluded that the GPS receiver, an essential
component of each of the challenged claims, placed a meaningful limitation on the scope of the
claim to render it patent eligible. 601 F.3d at 1332-33. Similarly, the T wave filter is a critical
component of Claim 9, as all other computer components, such as the “communication
interface,” “real-time heart beat detector,” and “selector,” exist in service of receiving and
responding to the T wave filter. Similar to the GPS receiver in SiRF, which processed GPS
satellite signals, the process of diminishing the intensity of T wave while preserving or
amplifying the R wave in an electrocardiogram, U.S. Patent No. 7,009,715 col. 3 ll. 58-60,
cannot be performed in the human mind. Such manipulation of electrocardiograms is different
from the process of manually identifying the T wave and R wave.
Accordingly, the court finds that Claim 9 is tied to a machine, “[a] cardiac monitoring
apparatus” comprising of a variety of computer components, including a T wave filter. U.S.
Patent No. 7,009,715 col. 7 ll. 45-53. Since Claim 9 meets the machine-or-transformation test, it
is sufficiently inventive to fall within the ambit of Section 101.
For the foregoing reasons, Defendant InfoBionic’s Renewed Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings that All Asserted Claims of U.S. Patent Nos. RE43,767, 7,212,850, 7,907,996 and
7,099,715 Are Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101 [#281] is ALLOWED IN PART and DENIED IN
The court finds that, at the pleadings stage, Plaintiffs have adequately alleged the patent
eligibility under Section 101 of Claim 9 of the ‘767 Patent and Claim 20 of the ‘715 Patent.
The court further finds that Claim 31 of the ’850 Patent and Claim 12 of the ’996 Patent
are not patent eligible under Section 101 as a matter of law. The court notes that the complaint
does not limit itself to these claims6 and that Plaintiffs discuss additional claims in their claim
construction briefs. Defendant argues that the claims are representative of the ’850 and ’996
Patent claims, but this issue has not been adequately briefed. Counsel shall promptly confer as to
whether Claim 31 and Claim 12 are representative of all claims of the ‘850 and ‘996 Patents
asserted by Plaintiffs, and shall jointly notify the court as to their positions. If no agreement is
reached, the parties’ Notice shall include a proposed briefing schedule as to this issue.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Date: May 4, 2017
/s/ Indira Talwani
United States District Judge
See 3d Am. Compl. ¶ 65 [#279] (“InfoBionic’s Second Generation MoMe® Kardia System
satisfies each and every element of one or more claims of the ‘850 patent, for example, and
without limitation, claim 31 of the ‘850 patent.”); id. ¶ 77 (“InfoBionic’s Second Generation
MoMe® Kardia System satisfies each and every element of one or more claims of the ‘996
patent, for example, and without limitation, claim 12 of the ‘996 patent.”).
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