PTAB: Ex parte Reid M. Rubs Amen

Certain methods of organizing human activity, Step 2b.

PTAB Appeal 2022-000391

Abstract from Application on Appeal

A computer system for obtaining, analyzing and providing information to a community of user patients regarding their medication is disclosed. The system is provided by means of world wide web access and generates a user patient screen prompting the manual entry of data relating to the use patient and drugs being taken. The data are analyzed and results are provided to the user patient and/or the caregiver including drug-drug interactions, drug pricing, alternative medications and possible adjustments in the dosing regimen of the user patient.

Representative Claim on Appeal

28. In a computer system which implements a data receptor

form on a screen which his accessible to a community of users, a method of analyzing data on a patient’s prescribed pharmaceuticals, the method comprising the computer implemented steps of:

  • (a) providing a community of users with access to the computer system using word wide web access;
  • (b) generating a screen for user patient access wherein the screen prompts the user patient to manually enter data relating to the drugs being taken by the user patient;
  • (c) obtaining data manually entered by the user patient as prompted wherein the data comprises a list of drugs currently taken by the user patient;
  • (d) analyzing the manually entered list of drugs against a databank of potential healthcare providers in order to determine one or more healthcare providers which provide the highest benefits on the drugs listed by the user patient; and
  • (e) producing a result based on the analysis; and
  • (f) sending the result to the user patient wherein the results of the analysis describe recent changes in benefits provided by benefits providers; and further wherein the results comprise current information on government funding policies relating to prescription drug reimbursement.

Rejection of Claims on Appeal

Claims 28-30 are rejected under 35 U.S.C. § 101 as directed to a judicial exception without significantly more. The claimed invention relates to acquiring and analyzing patient prescriptions. Examiner rejected the claims for being directed to an abstract idea of organizing human activity without significantly more. 

Summary of Appeal Analysis

The appeal focuses on independent claim 28, which the Examiner determines is directed to a method of analyzing a patient’s prescribed pharmaceuticals, falling in the category of certain methods of organizing human activity and a mental process.

The analysis agrees with the Examiner that the claims are the abstract idea of certain methods of organizing human activity. The steps of obtaining, analyzing, and producing a result are considered mental processes within the abstract-idea category. Thus, claim 28 recites the abstract idea of a certain method of organizing human activity and, in the alternative, a mental process.

Turning to the second prong of the “directed to test”, claim 28 requires a “computer system” and a “screen.” These recitations do not impose a meaningful limit on the judicial exception, as there is no indication that the operations involve inventive programming, specialized computer hardware, or other inventive computer components. The claimed invention is implemented using generic computer components to perform generic computer functions. Additionally, the claimed invention does not improve the functioning of the computer system or screen, nor does it affect an improvement in any other technology or technical field.

Claim 28 does not include an “inventive concept” and is therefore not patent-eligible. The introduction of computer elements into the claim does not alter the analysis at the second step. The function performed by the computer at each step of the process is purely conventional, and the sequence of data reception-analysis-access/display is equally generic and conventional. Claim 28 amounts to nothing significantly more than instructions to apply the abstract idea of analyzing a patient’s prescribed pharmaceuticals using some unspecified, generic computer, which is not enough to transform an abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention. Appellant’s various arguments, such as a request for remand due to identical claims being found patentable in 2015, comparison to Amdocs claims, and the claim not being performable in the human mind, are not persuasive. The analysis concludes that the Examiner did not err in rejecting claims 28-30 under 35 U.S.C. § 101.