Argument Preview

Another interesting case being argued next week is Cardionet, LLC v. InfoBionic, Inc. This case presents the question of whether an improved cardiac monitoring device is ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and also whether early dismissal of the case based on the finding of ineligibility was appropriate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

Cardionet’s opening brief argues that “[t]he district court committed reversible error by finding, on the pleadings, that the asserted claims fail to improve cardiac monitoring technology and merely recite conventional techniques.” Cardionet contends that “the district court ignored contrary evidence in the patent.” Further, Cardionet’s brief explains that “[t]he district court “compounded its primary error with several others” including “by defining the alleged abstract idea in an overly narrow manner limited to solving a specific problem . . . in a specific field . . . in a specific way.”

InfoBionic’s response brief argues that the claims of the patent “are ineligible under the two-step framework of Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. 208 (2014).”  InfoBionic explains that “the claims are directed to the abstract idea of identifying certain commonplace heart conditions,” “recite the basic steps that any doctor could (and would) perform,” and “add nothing inventive to the underlying abstract idea” in the claims.

In reply, Cardionet argues that “[t]he fatal problem with InfoBionic’s first contention [that the patent claims nothing more than a computerized version of a doctor’s approach to diagnosis] is that there is not one shred of evidence in the record that supports it,” and that “InfoBionic’s second contention [that the claims are overbroad] conjures up concerns about claim overbreadth based on contradictory and legally irrelevant arguments untethered from the claim language and specification.”

This case presents the Federal Circuit with an opportunity to apply the patent eligibility doctrine (1) to a claim to a medical device and (2) in the procedural posture of an appeal of a grant of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). As a result, how exactly the court decides this case may have broad implications for other cases. And, depending on whether the claims are ruled ineligible, it remains to be seen whether this case will generate calls for Supreme Court or Congressional intervention—as in the recent denial of en banc rehearing in Athena Diagnostics, Inc. v. Mayo Collaborative Services, LLC.