Judge Otis Wright of the Central District of California invalidated five claims in one of MyMedicalRecords’ patents in a case involving Walgreens, Quest Diagnostics, WebMD, and more. Wright’s decision [PDF] is one of many new cases that have implemented the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank, a groundbreaking decision that basically says: you can’t make an abstract idea patentable by simply adding “do it on a computer.”
In the case, MyMedicalRecords asserted a patent that covered a method of providing online personal health records in a private, secure way. Wright rightfully found that “the concept of secure record access and management, in the context of personal health records or not, is an age-old idea,” and is therefore abstract.
Now, according to the “Mayo test” that Alice deemed courts should use, an abstract concept could be patentable if it’s associated with some sort of “inventive concept” that goes beyond just the abstract idea. In the case of MyMedicalRecords’ patent, though, the additional claims fell flat, involving only “routine, conventional functions of a computer and server.” Under Alice, this patent is as good as gone.
What about the other patents MyMedicalRecords mentioned in its demand letters and lawsuits? Those—all similar to the recently invalidated one—are in a precarious position right now. This recent decision sets a strong precedent that should make the company think twice about going after any other healthcare providers, who now have strong ammunition to fight back against infringement claims.
This is great news, but it only comes after the initiation of a lawsuit against some deep-pocketed defendants who had the ability to fight back.