American Well Corp. v. Teladoc, Inc.

Am. Well Corp. v. Teladoc, Inc., No. 15-CV-12274-IT, 2016 WL 3255011, at *1 (D. Mass. June 13, 2016)

Patent(s):    

7,590,550| Entitled, “Connecting Consumers with Service Providers”

Disposition:               

Motion to Dismiss on the grounds of invalidity allowed

Abstract Idea:

Yes

Something More:

No

Technology:              

The patented technology monitors, records, and extends services based on the present availability of a medical care provider. The technology constantly monitors the availability of a provider for an engagement and thus, consumers receive immediate attention to address their questions or concerns, since the brokerage will connect them to available medical care providers. The technology activates a communication channel between the patient and an available physician when a patient requests an on-demand, real-time consultation with a physician. 

Summary:                 

The Court explained that under the first step of the Alice analysis, American Well's claims were directed to a patent-ineligible abstract idea: setting up consultations between patients and available healthcare providers. The claims embodied the abstract idea of connecting a patient with an available doctor. The claims involved a method of “organizing human activity” and they constituted an “idea, having no particular concrete or tangible form.” The Court reasoned that allowing American Well to patent the idea of using a computer to connect a patient with an available doctor would effectively grant a monopoly over an abstract idea.

The Court explained that under the second step of the Alice analysis the claims at issue did not contain an inventive concept. Instead, they merely added generic and previously-known computer components to an abstract idea. The claims described routine performance of a computer—such as accessing and storing information” on a data repository, identifying medical service providers in a pool, sending and receiving communications over a computer, and using the Internet to do all of the above, including setting up a “communication channel”—that did not transform an abstract idea into patent-eligible subject matter.