Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Method for Calculating Medical Codes not Invalid Under Bilski for Claiming Unpatentable Subject Matter

The court denied defendants' motion for summary judgment that plaintiff's patented method for computing medical codes was invalid for claiming unpatentable subject matter. The claims did not satisfy the machine-or transformation test because they (i) "require[d] the use of a general purpose computer for computation, storage, and display [and] these generic functions do not impose meaningful limits on the claims," (the machine prong) and (ii) they "involve[d] . . . manipulating data gathered in a physician–patient encounter and generating a final CPT code [which does not involve] . . . physical and tangible objects" (the transformation prong). Nevertheless, the claims were not invalid because they were not "drawn to an abstract idea." "The [patent-in-suit's] claims are not drawn to an abstract idea. They involve the use of a computer and complex programming and are not drawn to purely mental processes. Prior attempts to solve the coding problems addressed by the [patent] entailed hiring full-time coders who pored over medical records and tomes of information about CPT code criteria to determine the appropriate code. The [patent] claims provide a patentable improvement to the previous methods for determining the CPT codes for a physician–patient encounter. The claims are also subject to meaningful limits. They relate specifically to a physician–patient encounter and involve the determination of a specific type of medical procedure code that is published by the AMA."

Prompt Medical Systems, L.P. v. AllscriptsMisys Healthcare Solutions, Inc., et. al., 6-10-cv-00071 (TXED February 13, 2012, Order) (Davis, J.)

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