Judge grants Epic, Allscripts, athenahealth's motion to dismiss patent infringement case

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A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against major health IT companies alleging patent infringement.

Preservation Wellness Technologies in Plano, Texas, filed lawsuits against Epic, Allscripts, athenahealth and NextGen Healthcare, alleging the health IT companies had infringed upon its patent.

The patent in question is No. 7640271, called "System for Maintaining Patient Medical Records for Participating Patients" which permits providers and patients access to online health records, though to varying degrees. The patent includes a "two-way firewall" that allows providers to have access to the entire record including physician notes, while patients can only access the medical record.

Preservation Wellness Technologies filed individual lawsuits against the vendors, filing suits against Epic, Allscripts and athenahealth on Sept. 3, 2015 and a suit against NextGen Healthcare on Oct 1, 2015. The plaintiff sought damages to compensate for past and future patient infringement.

Epic filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, saying the subject matter in the patent is ineligible for patenting. Allscripts and athenahealth joined Epic's motion to dismiss, and NextGen healthcare filed an additional motion to dismiss that included Epic's arguments.

Federal Circuit Judge William Bryson in the Eastern District of Texas granted Epic's motion to dismiss the patent infringement suit, saying the patent was "clearly drawn to an abstract idea," according to a news release by the law firm representing Epic. Additionally, the judge ruled the two-way firewall was not an inventive concept, as argued by Preservation Wellness Technologies; rather, it is "a known type of software program functioning in its conventional manner."

The judge dismissed all claims against the defendants.

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