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As USPTO Rules in Favor of Intel, Health Discovery Seeks Decision on Rightful Owner of Patent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The US Patent and Trademark Office intends to issue a re-examination certificate to Intel for a patent that is at the center of a dispute between the computer chip manufacturer and personalized medicine firm Health Discovery.

As a result, Health Discovery today said that it has submitted a request to the patent office to determine the rightful owner of the patent, US Patent No. 7,685,077.

The USPTO is issuing its re-examination certificate to Intel following a request by Health Discovery to the agency last fall which challenged Intel's rights to the patent. Titled "Recursive feature eliminating method based on a support vector machine," the patent was issued to Intel in March 2010.

According to the patent, it covers technology that "is widely used in data intensive applications, such as disease genes selection, structured data mining, and unstructured data mining … [and] may be used to rank features, for example, to rank the genes that may cause a disease."

In requesting a re-examination of the patent, Health Discovery said that the USPTO failed to properly take into account prior art describing the RFE-SVM method during the original examination of Intel's patent application, as well as Health Discovery's patent applications predating Intel's patent application.

The company said that during the re-examination, the USPTO agreed that Health Discovery's earlier patents disclosed all elements of Intel's patent claims, rendering them unpatentable. However, Intel amended its original claims to include a step to store "the updated kernel data in the buffer to replace the (prior) kernel data," and based on that step, the USPTO examiner determined Intel's invention was patentable and should be certified as such, Health Discovery said.

The Savannah, Ga.-based firm said today that Intel is merely adding a "standard computer operation" to Health Discovery's RFE-SVM method, and last week it asked the USPTO to allow the company to move ahead with a request to determine whether it or Intel is entitled to the patent.

The company said that its earliest application describing RFE-SVM was filed in March 2000, compared to Intel's application for the method in August 2005.

"As a result, [Health Discovery] is confident that it will prevail and be declared the sole owner of the [RFE-SVM] method when its claims are compared side by side with Intel's claim," the company said in a statement.