Blog Tag: Patent Trial and Appeals Board
On June 6, 2014, Wright Medical Technology, Inc. (“WMT”) filed first and second petitions with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board requesting inter partes review of both U.S. Patent No. 6,440,138 (“the ‘138 Patent”) to Reiley et al., and U.S. Patent No. 6,863,672 (“the ‘672 Patent”) to Reiley et al. According to the ‘672 Patent’s New Application Transmittal at page 9, the ‘672 Patent is a divisional of the ‘138 Patent.
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office assignment database, the ‘138 and ‘672 Patents were previously assigned to Kyphon Inc., which was acquired by Medtronic in 2007 for $3.9 billion. The database also includes a recorded assignment, executed on April 25, 2013, from Medtronic, Inc., Kyphon SARL, and Warsaw Orthopedic, Inc. to Orthophoenix, LLC. Orthophoenix’s signatory was Erich Spangenberg (listed as the CEO). Spangenberg is also the owner and founder of IPNav, according to IPNav’s website. IPNav describes itself as a patent monetization firm.
The ‘138 Patent is entitled “Structures and Methods for Creating Cavities in Interior Body Regions.” According to the ‘138 Patent, it relates to tools that carry structures that are deployed inside bone and, when manipulated, cut cancellous bone to form a cavity. Figure 1 of the ‘138 Patent, described as a side view of a rotatable tool having a loop structure capable of forming a cavity in tissue, with the loop structure deployed beyond the associated catheter tube, is shown below left:
The ‘672 Patent is also entitled “Structures and Methods for Creating Cavities in Interior Body Regions.” According to the ‘672 Patent, it relates to tools that carry structures that are deployed inside bone and, when manipulated, cut cancellous bone to form a cavity. Figure 27 of the ‘672 Patent, described as a side view of a vertebra with the tool deployed to cut cancellous bone by moving the blade structure in a linear path to form a cavity, is shown below right:
The petition regarding the ‘138 Patent relies on a single prior art reference: U.S. Patent No. 5,015,255 to Kuslich, which the petition alleges was not before the Examiner during prosecution of the ‘138 patent. The petition seeks review of Claims 1-26 (all claims) of the ‘672 Patent and requests cancellation of each Claim. By contrast, the petition regarding the ‘672 Patent relies on two separate prior art references: U.S. Patent No. 5,439,464 to Shapiro and U.S. Patent No. 6,371,968 to Kogasaka et al. The petition alleges that neither prior art reference was before the Examiner during prosecution of the ‘672 Patent. The petition seeks review of Claims 1-12 (all claims) of the ‘138 Patent and requests cancellation of each Claim.
The petitions disclose that Orthophoenix has sued WMT in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. Orthophoenix, LLC v. Wright Medical Tech., Inc., Civil Action No. 13-10007-LPS (D. Del.). Orthophoenix filed its complaint on June 5, 2013 alleging direct and indirect patent infringement of both the ‘138 and ‘672 Patents (the “Patents in Suit”) by WMT.
Federal Circuit Affirms Rejection of Claims Directed to a System for Detection of Blood Within a Body Lumen
On July 19, the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences that the claims of U.S. Patent Application No. 10/097,096 were obvious over a combination of prior art references. The ‘096 application states that it relates to “a method and system for detection of colorimetric abnormalities in vivo, and specifically within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.” Figure 3 of the ‘096 application is shown below:
The Federal Circuit held that the Board’s affirmance of the Examiner’s rejection of all claims as obvious was “supported by substantial evidence.” The Federal Circuit found that the claims at issue were a “predictable variation of the combination of [the prior art references].” The Federal Circuit also rejected the Applicant’s argument that the Board relied on new grounds in reaching its decision, stating: “[w]hile the Board’s explanation may go into more detail than the examiner’s, that does not amount to a new ground of rejection.”
San Diego-based NuVasive, Inc. filed two petitions last Friday with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board for inter partes review of Medtronic subsidiary Warsaw Orthopedic, Inc.’s U.S. Pat. No. 8,251,997. The sole listed inventor of the ‘997 patent is Dr. Gary Michelson.
The ‘997 patent is entitled “Method for Inserting an Artificial Implant Between Two Adjacent Vertebrae Along a Coronal Plane” and “relates generally to instrumentation and methods of performing surgical procedures on the human thoracic and lumbar spine along the lateral aspect of the spine and from a true lateral or anterolateral approach, and specifically to the surgical correction of thoracic and lumbar disc disease and spinal deformities where concomitant fusion is desired.” Figure 13 from the ‘997 patent is shown below:
NuVasive’s first and second petitions collectively seek review of all 30 of the claims of the ‘997 patent, asserting the claims are obvious over a number of references. The associated exhibits can be found by visiting the Board’s website, entering the patent number 8251997, and clicking on the Search button.
Medtronic and NuVasive have a history of spinal patent infringement litigation. In 2008, Medtronic filed a patent lawsuit against NuVasive relating to spinal implants, and NuVasive filed patent infringement counterclaims. The first phase of this litigation went to trial in 2011, where Medtronic won $101 million in damages and NuVasive won $660,000, and is still ongoing.
Of note, the ‘997 patent, among others, was asserted by Warsaw against NuVasive in another pending patent infringement lawsuit originally filed in the Northern District of Indiana. The case has since been transferred to the Southern District of California. Warsaw’s alleged infringement contentions against NuVasive with respect to the ‘997 patent can be found here.
Heart Failure Technologies, LLC filed a petition yesterday with the Patent Trial and Appeals Board for inter partes review of CardioKinetix, Inc.’s U.S. Patent No. 7,582,051. The ‘051 patent, entitled “Peripheral Seal For a Ventricular Partitioning Device,” issued on September 1, 2009. According to the ‘051 patent, the patent “relates generally to the field of treating heart disease, particularly congestive heart failure, and more specifically, to a device and method for partitioning a patient’s heart chamber and a system for delivering the treatment device.” Figure 11E from the ‘051 patent is shown below:
Although the petition is not yet publicly available, the titles of the exhibits to the petition reference U.S. Patent Nos. 6,152,144, 7,485,088, and 7,717,955, and U.S. Patent Publication Nos. 2003/0050685, 2002/0111647, and 2005/0137688. The exhibit titles can be seen by visiting the Board’s website, searching for the ‘051 patent, and clicking on the Case Number link.