Preservation Wellness' medical records patent claim thrown out

Yet another federal court has dismissed a patent claim against several electronic health record vendors on the grounds that the patent at issue was too abstract to be patentable.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Preservation Wellness Technologies against Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Epic Systems, athenahealth and NextGen Healthcare Information Systems. Preservation is the owner of a patent known as patent 271, called "system for maintaining patent medical records for participating patients." The system provides secure management of medical records, remote access to patient records by patients and providers by use of a network, a means to connect to a network, a two-way firewall, differential access, software and more.

The vendors asked the court to dismiss the claims. They alleged the patent wasn't eligible to be a patent because it was based on an abstract idea of maintaining a system of patient records, and did not contain an inventive concept because the computing functionalities recited in the claims are conventional and generic.

The court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit. Citing MyMedicalRecords v. Walgreens, it noted that the concept of record access and management is an abstract idea, even as applied in the context of medical records. Adding merely novel or nonroutine components to the idea doesn't make an abstraction more concrete. Moreover, the aspects of the patent that Preservation claimed were "inventive"--the two-way firewall program and "software providing data module"--were not inventive, simply functional in nature.     

"The patent in this case is not directed to the solution of a 'technological problem' ... nor is it directed to an improvement in computer and network functionality," the judge said. "Instead, it is directed to a function that is performed by the use of generic computer components operating in their conventional manner."

To learn more:
- here's the decision