DC ineligibility (section 101) decisions based on claims being “solely directed to non-functional printed matter” reversed as “they were also directed to ‘the means by which that information is conveyed”

C.R. Bard, Inc. et al. v. Medical Components, Inc. (“MedComp”)

Docket No. 2022-1136, -1186 (https://cafc.uscourts.gov/opinions-orders/22-1136.OPINION.2-17-2023_2082534.pdf) (Non-precedential)

CHEN, WALLACH, HUGHES

February 17, 2023

Brief Summary:   DC finding of ineligibility of C.R. Bard’s claims for being “solely directed to non-functional printed matter” reversed as “they were also directed to ‘the means by which that information is conveyed.’”  Similar reasoning supported the DC’s ineligibility decision of MedComp’s claims, which was vacated and remanded.

Summary:  C.R. Bard appealed DC decision finding three asserted patents (US 7,785,302; 7,947,022; and 7,959,615) “directed to radiopaque markings and structural features that can be used to identify whether a venous access port is power injectable” ineligible under 35 U.S.C. section 101.  The ‘302 and ‘022 patents claim “[a] venous access port with an alphanumeric message that can be seen on an X-ray and that identifies the port as power injectable”.  The ‘615 patent claims “a venous access port that includes a concave structure designed to be palpated through the skin, and that also identifies the port as power injectable.”  MedComp cross-appealed the DC finding that its patent (US 8,021,324) “directed to a venous access port assembly that includes characters that can be seen via X-ray inspection and that identify the port as power injectable” ineligible under section 101.  The DC “found that the asserted claims in each of Bard’s three patents were ineligible under § 101 because the claims were solely directed to non-functional printed matter and because the claims were directed to the abstract idea of ‘[using] an identifier to communicate information about the power injectability of the underlying port’ with no inventive concept”, similar to the reasoning applied to Medical Components claims.  The FC panel explained that it is bound by its precedent in its C.R. Bard v. AngioDynamicx decision (FC 2020) that is “virtually identical” to this case as is presents the same question:  “whether claims that include non-functional printed matter could be eligible under § 101”.  In that case, the FC panel decided that “although the asserted claims contained some non-functional printed matter, they were nonetheless eligible under § 101 because the claims were not solely directed to non-functional printed matter—they were also directed to ‘the means by which that information is conveyed.’”  It therefore found Bard’s claims in this appeal patentable, and reversed that decision.  And since the DC “applied the same erroneous § 101 analysis to MedComp’s ’324 patent” it vacated and remanded the cross-appeal.

This entry was posted in Patent Eligibility (101), Section 101 (see also Patentability), Software. Bookmark the permalink.

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