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Cardionet, LLC. v. The Scottcare Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 11, 2019

CARDIONET, LLC, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
THE SCOTTCARE CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          Tucker, J.

         In the present motion, Defendants, The ScottCare Corporation and Ambucor Health Solutions, Inc., ask that the Court grant their Motion for Judgment On The Pleadings Or, In The Alternative, Summary Judgment (“Motion”) (Doc. 211) with respect to Plaintiffs' asserted claims of United States Patent Nos. 7, 587, 237 (the “'237 Patent”) and 7, 941, 207 (the “'207 Patent”). For the reasons set forth more fully below, Defendants' Motion is GRANTED.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs, CardioNet, LLC and Braemar Manufacturing, LLC[1] (collectively, “Plaintiffs” or “CardioNet”) bring this patent infringement action against Defendants, The ScottCare Corporation and Ambucor Health Solutions, Inc. (collectively, “Defendants” or “ScottCare”), alleging that Defendants are infringing five patents originally owned by CardioNet, which CardioNet assigned to Braemer Manufacturing, LLC.[2] Pls.' Second Am. Compl., Doc. 58. The patents-in-suit[3] -two of which are the subject of the pending motion[4] -are directed to multiple aspects of an electrocardiographic (“ECG”) telemetry device and its software. Pls.' Second Am. Compl., Doc. 58. The ECG telemetry device uses a monitor to record and transmit the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time. Pls.' Second Am. Compl., Ex. C, Doc. 58. This device helps medical professionals monitor a patient's cardiac activity and detect cardiac irregularities. Pls.' Second Am. Compl., Ex. C, Doc. 58. The cardiac data recorded by the ECG telemetry device is transmitted to a remote location where medical technicians review the information. Pls.' Second Am. Compl., Ex. C, Doc. 58. This information can then be sent to a medical professional for further review and diagnosis. Pls.' Second Am. Compl., Ex. C, Doc. 58.

         Plaintiffs allege that Defendants have infringed and are continuing to infringe their patents by making, using, selling, and/or offering for sale ScottCare's TeleSentry Mobile Cardiac Telemetry System, which consists of a device that records and processes a patient's ECG signal and a monitoring service whereby personnel at Ambucor evaluate the cardiac data transmitted by the device. Pls.' Second Am. Compl., Doc. 58.

         A. Overview of CardioNet's Mobile Cardiac Outpatient Telemetry (“MCOT™”) Device

         CardioNet LLC, a corporation having its principal place of business in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, provides continuous, real-time ambulatory “outpatient management solutions for monitoring clinical information regarding an individual's health.” Pls.' Second Am. Compl. 1, Doc. 58. CardioNet LLC, through its MCOT™ device, focuses on the diagnosis and monitoring of cardiac arrhythmias, or heart rhythm disorders. Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 5, Doc. 224. A cardiac arrhythmia is a disorder of the heart rate or rhythm-i.e. a person's heart beats too quickly, too slowly, or with an irregular pattern. Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 2, Doc. 224. A physician can diagnose an arrhythmia remotely by monitoring a patient's heart rhythm. See Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 4-5, Doc. 224. If done remotely, an ambulatory cardiac monitoring device will record the patient's heart rate either intermittently or continuously. See Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 4-5, Doc. 224.

         The MCOT™ device enables heartbeat-by-heartbeat ECG monitoring, analysis, and response, at home or away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 5, Doc. 224. The MCOT™ device includes a patient-worn sensor attached to electrodes that capture two-channel ECG data, measuring electrical activity of the heart and communicating wirelessly with a company-handheld-monitor. Pls.' Second Am. Compl., Ex. J, Doc. 58. The monitor analyzes incoming heartbeat-by-heartbeat information from the sensor on a real-time basis by applying algorithms designed to detect abnormal heart “events”-i.e. arrhythmias. See Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 4-5, Doc. 224. When the monitor detects an arrhythmia, “it automatically transmits [ECG] information to [] CardioNet['s] monitoring center for analysis and response.” Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 5, Doc. 224.

         B. Overview of the '237 Patent (Patent No. 7, 587, 237)

         The '237 Patent-entitled “Biological Signal Management”-relates to systems and techniques for analyzing and handling a patient's biological signal for medical purposes, including notifying cardiac monitoring technicians when an arrhythmia has been detected by the device. '237 Patent, Abstract, Ex. A[5]. Biological signals are electrical or optical streams that, in the medical context, include information relating to the physiological state of an organism which can be used to diagnose and treat disease. '237 Patent, 1:7-11, Ex. A. The handling of biological signals includes notifying medical personnel at a remote location when an “event, ” such as atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter (collectively “AF”), is identified. An event is a period in time when the information content of the cardiac electrical activity is of increased relevance. '237 Patent, 4:19-23, Ex. A.

         The claimed method of the'237 Patent involves receipt of cardiac biological signals involving events; determining a measure of merit for each identified event; comparing the measure of merit to a merit criterion; transmitting information of the events meeting the merit criterion to a remote medical receiver; and discarding information of the events that do not meet the merit criterion. '237 Patent, Abstract, Ex. A. The '237 Patent describes a method of analyzing biological signals before handling to reduce data clutter and handling costs. '237 Patent, 2:43-50, Ex. A. By analyzing the biological signal before handling and only transmitting meritorious events to the monitoring center for review, the volume of data that is handled by the system is reduced, including the volume of data that is reviewed by medical technicians. '237 Patent at 2:46-50, Ex. A. “Such reductions in data clutter can be used to quickly provide physicians with relevant information, decreasing the cost of data review and increasing the likelihood that diagnosis and/or treatment is appropriately delivered.” '237 Patent, 2:46-50, Ex. A.

         C. Overview of the '207 Patent (Patent No. 7, 941, 207)

         The '207 Patent-entitled “Cardiac Monitoring”-relates to “[s]ystems and techniques for monitoring cardiac activity.” '207 Patent, Abstract, Ex. B.[6] The systems and techniques collect information describing variability in heart beats and determine whether that variability is indicative of AF. Pls.' Second Am. Compl. Ex. K, Doc. 58. The patented method accomplishes this by: (1) “determining a beat-to-beat variability in cardiac electrical activity, ” (2) “determining a relevance of the variability to one of atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter, ” and (3) “identifying . . . an atrial fibrillation [] and atrial flutter event based on the determined relevance.” '207 Patent, 1:49-56, Ex. B.

         D. Overview of the Pending Motion

         On September 11, 2018, Defendants filed the instant Motion arguing that the '237 and '207 Patents are directed to abstract ideas and that the asserted claims do not contain inventive concepts, thereby rendering the Patents ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 (“§ 101”). Defs.' Mot. for J. On The Pleadings, Or In The Alternative Summ. J. 1, Doc. 211. Defendants further allege that Plaintiffs are collaterally estopped from asserting infringement of claims 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 21, 22, and 23 of the '207 Patent because Judge Talwani of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts (“Massachusetts District Court”) found the '207 Patent ineligible under § 101. CardioNet, LLC v. InfoBionic, Inc., 348 F.Supp.3d 87 (D. Mass. 2018); Defs.' Reply in Supp. of Mot. for J. On The Pleadings, Or In The Alternative Summ. J. 2, Doc. 228.

         Plaintiffs respond that the '237 Patent focuses on a specific method, not an abstract idea and the asserted claims recite an inventive concept for analyzing ECG data. Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 11-16, Doc. 224. Regarding the '207 Patent, Plaintiffs claim that collateral estoppel does not apply because the Massachusetts District Court did not adjudicate identical issues. Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 17, Doc. 224. Plaintiffs further argue that the '207 Patent is a specific device rather than an abstract idea and the claims recite inventive concepts that improve AF diagnosis. Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 21-24, Doc. 224.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), a party may move for judgment on the pleadings after the pleadings are closed, as long as the party does so early enough not to delay the trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). Courts in this Circuit construe motions for judgment on the pleadings that assert failure to state a claim under the same standard as motions to dismiss made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Katzenmoyer v. City of Reading, 158 F.Supp.2d 491, 496 (E.D. Pa. 2001). “The only notable difference between these two standards is that the court in a motion on the pleadings reviews not only the complaint but also the answer and written instruments attached to the pleadings.” Sprague v. Neil, No. 1:05-CV-1605, 2007 WL 3085604, at *2 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 19, 2007).

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 570 (2007)). A complaint is plausible on its face when its factual allegations allow a court to draw a reasonable inference that a defendant is liable for the harm alleged. Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 128 (3d Cir. 2010). A court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in a complaint and interpret them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Argueta v. U.S. Immigration & Customs Enf't, 643 F.3d 60, 74 (3d Cir. 2011). “While as a general rule, a court ma[]y not consider anything beyond the four corners of the complaint on a motion to dismiss pursuant to 12(b)(6), the Third Circuit has held that a court may consider certain narrowly defined types of material without converting the motion to dismiss [to one for summary judgment pursuant [to] Rule 56].” Nasdaq, Inc. v. IEX Group, Inc., 2019 WL 102408, at *2 (D. N.J. 2019) (citing In re Rockefeller Ctr. Props. Sec. Litig., 184 F.3d 280, 287 (3d Cir. 1999). “[D]ocument[s] integral to or explicitly relied upon in the complaint may be considered.” In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997) (internal quotations omitted).

         III. DISCUSSION

         In its Motion, Defendants argue that the '237 and '207 Patents are ineligible under § 101 because they are directed to an abstract idea and the asserted claims do not contain an inventive concept. Defs.' Mot. for J. On The Pleadings, Or In The Alternative Summ. J. 2, Doc. 211. Defendants further argue that Plaintiffs are collaterally estopped from alleging infringement of the asserted claims of the '207 Patent. Defs.' Reply in Supp. of Mot. for J. On The Pleadings, Or In The Alternative Summ. J. 2, Doc. 228. For the reasons that follow, the Court agrees and, therefore, Defendants' Motion is GRANTED.

         A. Patent Eligibility Under § 101

         A patent may be obtained for “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” 35 U.S.C. § 101. “Laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas[, however, ] are not patentable.” Ass'n. for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 133 S.Ct. 2107, 2116 (2013) (internal brackets omitted) (quoting Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., 566 U.S. 66, 70 (2012)). The Supreme Court has established a two-step framework through which courts assess patent eligibility under § 101. See Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int'l., 134 S.Ct. 2347, 2354-55 (2014).

         First, a court must determine whether the claims at issue are directed to a patent-ineligible concept-i.e. laws of nature, natural phenomena, or abstract ideas. Id. at 2355. Second, if the claims are directed to a patent-ineligible concept, a court then examines whether “the additional elements transform the nature of the claim into a patent-eligible application.” Id. (internal quotations omitted). To transform an abstract idea into a patent-eligible application, the claims must do “more than simply stat[e] the abstract idea while adding the words ‘apply it.'” Id. at 2357. Stated otherwise, a court must determine whether the elements of the claim, considered “both individually and as an ordered combination, ” contain an “inventive concept.” Id. at 2355 (internal quotations omitted). The presence of an inventive concept will “‘transform the nature of the claim' into a patent-eligible application.” Id. (internal quotations omitted).

         B. The '237 Patent

         i. Claims 25 and 37 are Representative of All Asserted Claims of the '237 Patent

         District courts are not required to assess each asserted claim of infringement where a patent's claims are substantially similar to the representative claims and linked to the same abstract idea. See Content Extraction & Transmission LLC v. Wells Fargo Bank, Nat'l Ass'n, 776 F.3d 1343, 1348 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (holding that where all of the claims are directed to the same abstract idea, “addressing each of the asserted patents . . . [is] unnecessary”); Planet Bingo, LLC v. VKGS LLC, 576 Fed.Appx. 1005, 1007 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (affirming district court's finding that “[t]he system claims recite the same basic process as the method claims, and the dependent claims recite only slight variations of the independent claims.”). The '237 Patent asserts four (4) independent claims-1, 22, 25, and 37-and six (6) dependent claims-4, 6, 11, 17, 29, and 32. Claims 25 and 37 are representative of the asserted claims of the '237 Patent.

         The ‘237 patent is generally directed to methods of filtering information into different groups based on identifying characteristics and transmitting a portion of this information to the cardiac monitoring center for review by medical technicians. '237 Patent, Abstract, Ex. A. Claims 1, 22, 25, and 37 explain how information is classified into groups based on certain attributes that relate to specific cardiac conditions; given a measure of merit; and then transmitted or discarded based on a comparison between the measure of merit and merit criterion. '237 Patent, 15:10-62; 17:4-32; 17:40-18, 18:59-20-3, Ex. A.

         Claims 1i and 25ii are substantially similar in that they provide the same procedure, except that Claim 25 is directed to the software for performing the steps of Claim 1. Compare '237 Patent, 15:10-62, Ex. A with 17:40-18:17, Ex. A. Likewise, Claim 22iii mirrors the procedure of Claim 37, iv except that Claim 37 is directed to the software for performing the steps of Claim 22. Compare '237 Patent, 17:4-32, Ex. A with 18:59-20-3, Ex. A. The method claims-Claims 1 and 22-are no different from the software claims-Claims 25 and 37-in substance; each are directed to the same abstract idea of collecting, classifying, or otherwise filtering cardiac data. See Alice, 134 S.Ct. at 2360. The method claims recite the abstract idea of “monitoring a cardiac biological signal using [ECG] monitoring instrumentation” while the software claims recite programming instructions “to cause one or more machines to perform [the] operations for monitoring a cardiac biological signal using [ECG] monitoring instrumentation.” '237 Patent, 15:10-62; 17:4-32; 17:40-18, 18:59-20-3, Ex. A. Accordingly, Claims 25 and 37 accurately represent the asserted independent claims of the '237 Patent. See Alice, 134 S.Ct. at 2360.

         The dependent claims-Claims 4, 6, 11, 17, 29, and 32-“recite only slight variations of the independent claims.” Planet Bingo, 576 Fed.Appx. at 1007. Claims 4, v 6, vi and 17, vii depend on Claim 1 and Claim 11viii depends on Claim 9, ix which in turn depends on Claim 1. '237 Patent, 16:4-57, Ex. A. Claim 29x depends on Claim 27, xi which, in turn, depends on Claim 25; and Claim 32xii depends on Claim 25. '237 Patent, 18:32-37; 18:44-45, Ex. A. Dependent Claims 4, 6, 11, 17, 29, and 32 define further particulars of Claims 1 and 25, including: (1) using the same filtering process over a certain time span, and excluding events occurring outside of that certain time span; (2) providing that the cardiac biological signal will comprise of a measurement of electrical potential; (3) providing that the information will have a time stamp; and (4) providing that the cardiac biological signal will comprise an ECG signal. '237 Patent, 16:4-57, 18:32-37; 18:44-45, Ex. A. The dependent claims merely provide additional information relating to Claims 1 and 25 by “recit[ing] only slight variations.” Planet Bingo, 576 Fed.Appx. at 1007. Because Claim 25 is representative of Claim 1, Claim 25 accurately represents the asserted dependent claims of the '237 Patent.

         Accordingly, Claims 25 and 37 accurately represent the asserted claims-Claims 1, 4, 6, 11, 17, 22, 29, and 32-of the '237 Patent.

         ii. Alice Step One Analysis: Patent-Ineligible Concepts

         When determining whether computerized technology is directed to an abstract idea, courts “ask 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 merely invoked as a tool.” Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., 822 F.3d 1327, 1335-36 (Fed. Cir. 2016), see also In re TLI Commc'ns LLC Patent Litig., 823 F.3d 607, 612 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (“[A] relevant inquiry at step one is to ask whether the claims are directed to an improvement to computer functionality versus being directed to an abstract idea.”) (internal citation omitted) (internal quotations omitted). If “the plain focus of the claim is on an improvement to computer functionality itself, not on economic or other tasks for which a computer is used in its ordinary capacity, ” it is not directed to an abstract idea. Enfish, 822 F.3d at 1336. Conversely, if the claims “are directed to a[n] abstract idea of organizing information through mathematical correlations with recitation of only generic gathering and processing activities, ” or “recite[] a purely conventional computer implementation of a mathematical formula, ” it is directed to an abstract idea. Id. at 1338-39. Additionally, “[w]here every aspect of the patented method could be carried out manually, courts tend to find that the method is too abstract to be patentable.” SkillSurvey, Inc. v. Checkster, LLC, 178 F.Supp.3d 247, 256 (E.D. Pa. 2016).

         Patent claims that “merely collect, classify, or otherwise filter data” are patent-ineligible under § 101. Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Erie Indem. Co., 850 F.3d 1315, 1327 (Fed. Cir. 2017); see also TLI, 823 F.3d at 611 (concluding that the patent was directed to the abstract idea of classifying and storing digital images in organized manner); Content Extraction, 776 F.3d at 1347 (concluding that the patent was “drawn to the abstract idea of 1) collecting data, 2) recognizing certain data within the collected data set, and 3) storing that recognized data in a memory”); Bascom Glob. Internet Servs., Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 827 F.3d 1341, 1348-49 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (concluding that “content filtering system for filtering content retrieved from an [i]nternet computer network” was directed to an abstract idea); Cyberfone Sys., LLC v. CNN Interactive Grp., Inc., 558 Fed.Appx. 988, 992 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (“the well-known concept of categorical data storage, i.e., the idea of collecting information in classified form, then separating and transmitting that information according to its classification, is an abstract idea that is not patent-eligible.”).

         a. The asserted claims of the '237 Patent are directed to an abstract idea.

         Defendants argue that the asserted claims of the '237 Patent are “directed to the abstract idea of organizing human behavior.” Defs.' Mot. for J. On The Pleadings, Or In The Alternative Summ. J. 16, Doc. 211. Specifically, Defendants contend that the asserted claims are “analogous to a medical professional checking a patient's physiological heart data, looking for changes and similarities in the data, filtering the data the medical professional deems most valuable, and storing that data for later use.” Defs.' Mot. for J. On The Pleadings, Or In The Alternative Summ. J. 14, Doc. 211.

         Plaintiffs counter that the asserted claims of the '237 Patent are not directed to an abstract idea because “each claim recites a detailed, computer-implemented method governing the flow and analysis of information between an ECG monitoring instrumentation . . . and a remote medical receiver.” Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 11, Doc. 224.

         The asserted claims of the '237 Patent recite systems and techniques for monitoring “a cardiac biological signal.” '237 Patent, Abstract, Ex. A. This includes determining a “measure of merit” for each monitored cardiac event. '237 Patent, 1:28-30, Ex. A. The measure of merit encompasses both the severity of the cardiac condition related to the event and the amount of noise in the information describing the event. '237 Patent, 1:35-37, Ex. A. The measure of merit for each event is subsequently compared with a merit criterion. '237 Patent, 1:56-61, Ex. A. Events that have measures of merit meeting the merit criterion are transmitted to a remote medical receiver for review by medical technicians; events that have measures of merit that fail to meet the merit criterion are discarded. '237 Patent, 1:56-61, Ex. A.

         Representative Claims 25 and 37 do not focus “on an improvement to computer functionality itself, ” rather the asserted claims are directed to the abstract idea of merely collecting, classifying, or otherwise filtering data into different groups based on identifying characteristics and transmitting relevant information for review. '237 Patent, Abstract, Ex. A. Courts have found these types of patent claims to be abstract ideas. Intellectual Ventures, 850 F.3d at 1327; Content Extraction, 776 F.3d at 1351; Bascom Glob., 827 F.3d at 1348-49; Cyberfone Sys., 558 Fed.Appx. at 990-92.

         In Content Extraction, the Federal Circuit found the asserted claims invalid as patent ineligible under § 101. Content Extraction, 776 F.3d at 1351. The claims asserted methods of “extracting data from hard copy documents using an automated digitizing unit such as a scanner, ” “recognizing specific information from the extracted data, ” and “storing that information in a memory.” Id. at 1344. In conducting step one of its Alice analysis, the Federal Circuit determined that the claims of the asserted patent were generally directed to “the abstract idea of 1) collecting data, 2) recognizing certain data within the collected data set, and 3) storing that recognized data in a memory.” Id. at 1347. The court explained that “[t]he concept of data collection, recognition, and storage is undisputedly well-known, ” and emphasized that “humans have always performed these functions.” Id. The court rejected Plaintiff's argument that the claims were patent eligible because they required hardware to perform functions that humans cannot-processing and recognizing the stream of bits output by the scanner. Id. Comparing the asserted claims to “the computer-implemented claims in Alice, ” the court concluded that the claims were “drawn to the basic concept of data recognition and storage, ” even though they recited a scanner. Id.

         Like the Plaintiff in Content Extraction, Plaintiffs have failed to show that the focus of the asserted claims of the '237 Patent are directed to an improvement in computer functionality, as opposed to generic gathering and processing activities that can be carried out manually. Representative Claims 25 and 37 reflect analysis that medical professionals have performed. As Plaintiffs explain, “the asserted claims of the '237 Patent . . . enable accurate, automatic review of a large volume of cardiac monitoring data that was previously reviewed manually by trained technicians. The claims save physicians or other trained medical personnel from performing costly review of less clinically-significant data.” Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 12, Doc. 224 (emphasis added). The asserted claims of the '237 Patent are directed to the abstract idea of collecting, classifying, and selectively transmitting relevant data. Having made this determination, the Court proceeds to the second step of the Alice analysis.

         iii. Alice Step Two Analysis: Inventive Concept

         An abstract idea does not, in and of itself, render it patent ineligible. Alice, 134 S.Ct. at 2354. A patent that contains an inventive concept will transform the claimed abstract idea into a patent-eligible application. Id. at 2357. To constitute an inventive concept, the claimed abstract idea must be more than “well-understood, routine, conventional activity.” Mayo, 566 U.S. at 79. “[G]eneric computer implementation” is insufficient to transform an abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention. Alice, 134 S.Ct. at 2352, 2357.

         a. Use of generic computer technology does not render this otherwise abstract idea inventive.

         Defendants argue that the asserted claims of the '237 Patent add nothing inventive to the underlying abstract idea because they “merely automate or otherwise make more efficient, traditional methods or techniques existing in the medical field.” Defs.' Mot. for J. On The Pleadings, Or In The Alternative Summ. J. 19, Doc. 211.

         Plaintiffs contend that the asserted claims of the '237 Patent “do not merely computerize conventional techniques, ” but instead recite an inventive concept by “creat[][ing] a combined measurement of the severity of adverse cardiac events together with the signal noise level, to automatically identify less clinically-significant events.” Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 16, Doc. 224. Plaintiffs further argue that the asserted claims of the '237 Patent are inventive under the “machine-or-transformation” test because the claims are “tied to a particular machine or apparatus, namely [ECG] monitoring instrumentation.” Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 17, Doc. 224.

         In Bascom Glob., the Federal Circuit found that patent claims directed to “filtering Internet content” were patent-eligible under § 101. Bascom Glob., 827 F.3d at 1355. Although the Federal Circuit found the asserted claims to be directed to the abstract idea of filtering content, the court determined that the asserted claims contained an inventive concept that transformed the abstract idea into patent-eligible subject matter. Id. at 1350-52. In so doing, the Federal Circuit determined that the asserted claims do not: 1) “merely 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, ” and (ii) “preempt all ways of filtering content on the Internet” or on generic computer components performing conventional activities. Id. at 1350. The court focused on the technical aspect of the claimed invention and stated that while “[f]iltering content on the Internet was already a known concept, [] the patent describes how its particular arrangement of elements is a technical improvement over prior art . . . filters [that] were either susceptible to hacking and dependent on local hardware and software, or confined to an inflexible one size-fits-all scheme.” Id. at 1350. The Federal Circuit stated that “[b]y taking a prior art filter solution (one-size fits-all filter at the ISP server) and making it more dynamic and efficient (providing individualized filtering at the ISP server) the claimed invention represents a software-based invention[ ] that improve[s] the performance of the computer system itself.” Id. at 1351.

         Unlike the claims in Bascom Glob., representative Claims 25 and 37 add nothing inventive to the abstract idea of collecting, classifying, and selectively transmitting relevant data. The claim elements, individually or collectively, recite performing the abstract idea with conventional technology and fail to provide any specific, inventive technological improvement.

         Claims 25 and 37 describe “[a]n article comprising one or more machine-readable storing instructions operable to cause one or more machines to perform operations for monitoring a cardiac biological signal using [ECG] instrumentation.” '237 Patent, 17:40-44; 18:59-63, Ex. A. Notably, a “machine-readable medium” is described as “any computer program product, apparatus and/or device . . . used to provide machine instructions and/or data to a programmable processor” and the term “‘machine-readable signal' refers to any signal used to provide machine instructions and/or data to a programmable processor.” '237 Patent, 14:17-31, Ex. A. The claims do not provide any specific, inventive technological improvement, but rather provide processing instructions for use on any type of “machine-readable medium.” The '237 Patent discloses that a “vari[ety] of implementations of systems and techniques” can be used to implement the Patent's claimed process. '237 Patent, 14:6-57, 14:32-57, Ex. A. Reciting such conventional computer components is insufficient to transform an abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention. Alice, 134 S.Ct. at 2352, 2357.

         i. The asserted claims of the '237 Patent do not satisfy the machine-or-transformation test.

         Under the machine-or-transformation test, a claimed process is patent eligible under § 101 if “it is tied to a particular machine or apparatus” and “the use of a specific machine or transformation of an article . . . impose meaningful limits on the claim's scope.” SiRF Tech., Inc. v. Int'l Trade Com'n, 601 F.3d 1319, 1332 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (internal citation omitted). “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.” Id. at 1333. “[S]imply implementing a mathematical principle on a physical machine, namely a computer, [i]s not a patentable application” of an otherwise abstract idea. Alice, 134 S.Ct. at 2357 (internal citation omitted).

         In SiRF Tech., the Federal Circuit held that certain patents related to global positioning systems (“GPS”) were patent-eligible under § 101. SiRF Tech., 601 F.3d at 1333. The patent claims were directed to a method of “estimating a plurality of states associated with a satellite signal receiver” and “forming a dynamic model relating the plurality of states, the dynamic model operative to compute position of the satellite signal receiver.” Id. at 1332. In concluding that the patents satisfied the machine-or-transformation test, the court found that the “GPS receiver” was held to be a “particular machine” that was “integral to each of the claims at issue.” Id. The court emphasized that the “methods at issue could not be performed without the use of a GPS receiver, ” and there was no evidence that “the calculations [ ] c[ould] be performed entirely in the human mind.” Id. at 1332-33. Because the claimed method could not be “performed without a” GPS receiver, the receiver was indispensable to the patented process. Id.

         For the reasons stated above, the '237 Patent fails under the machine-or-transformation test. Unlike the claims in SiRF Tech., Plaintiffs' claims are not tied to any particular machine that is integral to the claimed systems and techniques for monitoring cardiac biological signals. The asserted claims merely recite conventional computer components for “permitting a solution to be achieved more quickly” through a machine-readable medium that can be “any computer program product, apparatus and/or device.” SiRF Tech., 601 F.3d at 1333. Because the asserted claims of the '237 Patent are not directed to a specific machine, they do not contain an inventive concept sufficient to transform the abstract idea into patent-eligible subject matter. For these reasons, the '237 Patent is directed to an abstract idea and the asserted claims do not add an inventive element. Accordingly, the asserted claims of the '237 Patent are patent-ineligible under § 101.

         C. The '207 Patent

         Defendants argue that Plaintiffs are collaterally estopped from alleging infringement of claims 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 21, 22, and 23 of the '207 Patent following the Massachusetts District Court's decision in CardioNet, LLC v. InfoBionic, Inc. 348 F.Supp.3d 87 (D. Mass. 2018); Defs.' Reply in Supp. of Mot. for J. On The Pleadings, Or In The Alternative Summ. J. 2, Doc. 228. In that case, in ruling on defendant's motion to dismiss, Judge Talwani determined that claims 1, 2, 3, 7, 10, 11, 12, and 22 of the '207 Patent were ineligible under § 101. InfoBionic, 348 F.Supp. at 89. Judge Talwani concluded that “the '207 patent is directed to an abstract idea and the asserted claims do not add [] inventive elements.” Id. at 98.

         With respect to unadjudicated claims 8, 9, 21, and 23, Defendants maintain that “they present identical issues” and are representative of Claim 1, which was previously invalidated in InfoBionic. Defs.' Reply in Supp. of Mot. for J. On The Pleadings, Or In The Alternative Summ. J.6, Doc. 228.

         Plaintiffs argue that collateral estoppel does not apply to the asserted claims of the '207 Patent because the Massachusetts District Court did not adjudicate claims 8, 9, 21, and 23 of the '207 Patent. Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 17, Doc. 224. Plaintiffs further argue that “the Massachusetts court based a substantial portion of its opinion on the alleged breadth of [] claims [1, 2, 3, 7, 10, 11, 12, and 22]-a rationale that cannot apply to claims 8, 9, 21, and 23.” Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 17, Doc. 224. Finally Plaintiffs contend that collateral estoppel should not apply because an appeal is pending. Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 18-19, Doc. 224.

         i. Collateral Estoppel

         The doctrine of collateral estoppel-also known as issue preclusion-precludes a party from litigating an issue that has previously been decided in a former judicial proceeding. Scooper Dooper, Inc. v. Kraftco Corp., 494 F.2d 840, 844 (3d Cir. 1974). In Blonder-Tongue, the Supreme Court unanimously held that where a patent has been declared invalid in a prior adjudication, an unrelated defendant in a subsequent action for infringement may assert a collateral estoppel defense based on the previous judgment. Blonder-Tongue Labs., Inc. v. Univ. of Ill. Found., 402 U.S. 313, 350 (1971); Kaiser Indus. Corp. v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., 515 F.2d 964, 976 (3d Cir. 1975). In its ruling, the Supreme Court created “a pragmatic formula that harmonized considerations of due process and judicial economy. It was aimed at producing substantial justice while avoiding needlessly repetitious litigation.” Kaiser Indus. Corp., 515 F.2d at 976-77.

         To invoke the doctrine of collateral estoppel as a defense, a defendant must establish that: (1) the identical issue was previously adjudicated; (2) the issue was actually litigated; (3) the previous determination of the issue was necessary to the decision; and (4) the party being precluded from relitigating the issue was fully represented in the prior action. Stone v. Johnson, 608 Fed.Appx. 126, 127 (3d Cir. 2015). The Third Circuit has also considered whether the issue was determined by a final and valid judgment. Jean Alexander Cosmetics, Inc. v. L'Oreal USA, Inc., 458 F.3d 244, 249 (3d Cir. 2006).

         ii. Claims 1, 2, 10, and 22

         In light of the Supreme Court's holding in Blonder-Tongue, this Court finds that Plaintiffs are collaterally estopped from alleging infringement of claims 1, 2, 10, and 22 of the '207 Patent because Judge Talwani of the Massachusetts District Court ruled that these claims are patent ineligible under § 101. InfoBionic, 348 F.Supp.3d at 98. With respect to claims 1, 2, 10, and 22, the only element of collateral estoppel that Plaintiffs dispute is whether the InfoBionic decision constitutes a final judgment. Thus, the Court's discussion focuses on this element.

         a. The issue was determined by a final judgment.

         There is no bright-line rule regarding what constitutes a “final judgment” for issue preclusion purposes. Free Speech Coal., Inc. v. AG of the United States, 677 F.3d 519, 541 (3d Cir. 2012). However, “a prior adjudication of an issue in another action must be sufficiently firm to be accorded conclusive effect.” Id. (internal quotations omitted). When determining whether a prior ruling was sufficiently firm for preclusion purposes, courts consider the following factors: (1) whether the parties were fully heard; (2) whether a reasoned opinion was filed; and (3) whether that decision could have been, or was, appealed. Id. None of these factors alone are determinative. Id.

         The Court finds that the Massachusetts District Court's decision-concluding that Plaintiffs' asserted claims in the '207 Patent are patent-ineligible-constitutes a final judgment for collateral estoppel purposes; the parties were fully heard on the issues, the Massachusetts District Court issued a well-reasoned opinion, and Plaintiffs had a full and fair opportunity to litigate their claims.

         First, Plaintiffs were fully heard regarding claims 1, 2, 10, and 22 of the '207 Patent. Plaintiffs were represented by competent counsel before the Massachusetts District Court and had a full opportunity to brief the issues and present oral argument. Second, the Massachusetts District Court issued a well-reasoned opinion in support of its decisions. The Massachusetts District Court conducted its Alice analysis and clearly articulated its basis for concluding that claims 1, 2, 10, and 22 of the '207 Patent are patent-ineligible because “Plaintiffs' asserted claims are not directed to any improvement in the computer technology itself, but rather seek to improve cardiac monitoring instead through the abstract idea of measuring the variability of heartbeats.” InfoBionic, 348 F.Supp.3d at 98. Third, Plaintiffs have appealed the Massachusetts District Court's decision to the Federal Circuit. In re Brown, 951 F.2d 564, 569 (3d Cir. 1991) (internal citation omitted) (“In determining whether the resolution was sufficiently firm, the second court should consider whether . . . that decision could have been, or actually was, appealed.”).

         Plaintiffs' contention that collateral estoppel should not apply because the issues have been appealed is unpersuasive. Pls.' Opp'n To Defs.' Mot. J. Pleadings 18-19, Doc. 224. The collateral estoppel effect of a prior district court decision is not impacted by the fact that an appeal has been taken from the decision. See Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. v. Mylan Pharm., Inc., 170 F.3d 1373, 1380-81 (Fed. Cir. 1999) (“[T]he law is well settled that the pendency of an appeal has no effect on the finality or binding effect of a trial court's holding.”); Rice v. ...


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