In final written decisions in inter partes reviews under the America Invents Act, the PTAB invalidated Bosch's patents for methods of remotely monitoring medical patients and communicating information to them.
The board found that all three patents were obvious in view of earlier patents. It rejected Bosch's arguments that some of the challenged claims could not be obvious because the company's Health Buddy monitoring system incorporating the patents "was commercially successful and received praise."
"Based on all of the evidence of record, including evidence of secondary considerations of non-obviousness submitted by patent owner, we determine that [the] claims would have been obvious," the board wrote in one of the decisions.
In an underlying suit in the Northern District of California that has been stayed pending the outcome of the inter partes reviews, Bosch alleges that Cardiocom, its direct competitor, infringes six patents through its Cardiocom Telehealth system, which electronically collects data from patients and communicates with them.
The suit, filed in 2012, claims that the field of remote health monitoring was pioneered by Health Hero Network, which is now part of Bosch, and that "Cardiocom piggybacked on Health Hero Network’s positive results" to launch competing products after the field had a proven track record. According to its web site "About Us" page, Cardiocom has provided telehealth systems since 1999.
HCTR reported at the time that Daniel L. Cosentino, Cardiocom's President and Chief Executive Officer, responded to the allegations, saying, "Bosch's claims are groundless and completely without merit. Cardiocom's products and services do not violate any intellectual property rights."
The board found that Bosch's patents were rendered obvious by prior inventions including one describing a personal health network where a host computer communicates with both a patient's computer and a health care provider's computer. Bosch argued that its patents should not be found obvious in part because its Health Buddy system was "commercially successful and the company has sold tens of thousands of devices." The board held that Bosch failed to show that the success of the device was attributable to the patented features.
The company "did not provide any analysis of how the Health Buddy allegedly embodied the challenged claims, or explain in any detail why it was the unique characteristics of the claimed apparatus or method that drove sales," the board said. It added that Bosch had similarly failed to show that the praise the device received was related to the patents.
Cardiocom challenged the validity of all six patents at issue in the suit in inter partes reviews. In the early January decisions, two invalidated all of the claims at issue in the suit, and the third invalidated only some of the claims. When the PTAB issued two further decisions in an inter partes review of a fourth patent on January 27, the board rejected Bosch’s arguments that its invention improved on other systems for communicating health information that were available when its Health Buddy product was released. The company cited its unique and simplified four-button design, but the board said the challenged claims do not require such a design, and therefore, any difference is "immaterial." The final nail in the coffin came in June when PTAB ruled against Bosch in its two remaining patent challenges.
Bosch also argued that its invention is not obvious because its initial success led to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to require Health Buddy’s features from any company responding to a request for proposal to provide its own medical equipment. However, the board did not find the evidence proffered by Bosch and its expert witness convincing. "Patent Owner has not shown proof of copying that would support a conclusion of non-obviousness of the challenged claims," it said.
©2015 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. firstname.lastname@example.org