In Natural Alternatives Int’l v. Creative Compounds, LLC, No. 2018-1295 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 15, 2019), the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s decision granting a motion for judgment on the pleadings, holding that claims in this case reciting methods of treatment were not directed to a natural law as the particular claims in this case require specific and unconventional dosage of a natural substance.
Natural Alternatives asserted several patents related to using a natural substance to “increase[e] the anaerobic working capacity of muscle and other tissues.” Creative Compounds moved for judgment on the pleadings, alleging that the asserted claims were directed to a natural law and were thus patent ineligible under Section 101. The district court granted Creative Compounds’ motion.
On appeal, the Federal Circuit disagreed. The panel found that, under Natural Alternatives’ proposed claim construction, the claims-at-issue embody not only the benefit of natural substances, but also actual administration of the substances in the specific dosage and manner claimed. As such, the claims in this case are treatment claims and are patent eligible. In addition, the panel held that the district court erroneously granted the motion for judgment on the pleadings under Section 101, when there was no basis to conclude that the claimed methods of treatment in this case were well-understood, routine, and conventional under step two of the Mayo/Alice analysis.
Judge Reyna concurred in part and dissented in part. He agreed with the panel’s decision to remand the case, but disagreed with the claim construction that the panel used, suggesting that the district court in this case should have independently construed the claimed methods of treatment before deciding Section 101 issues at the pleading stage.