The Patent Trial and Appeals Board (the “Board”) recently issued Final Written Decisions disposing of two inter partes reviews that NuVasive filed in mid-2013 regarding U.S. patent number 8,444,696 (the ’696 Patent). The ’696 Patent is entitled “Anatomic spinal implant having anatomic bearing surfaces” and, according to its abstract, “is directed to an interbody spinal implant having a structural configuration that provides for maintaining the normal anatomic relationship of two adjacent vertebrae of the spine.” According to the USPTO Assignment Database, the patent application that later became the ’696 patent was assigned on May 17, 2005 by its inventor to SDGI Holdings, Inc., then was assigned on April 28, 2006 by SDGI Holdings, Inc. to Warsaw Orthopedic, Inc.
In its recent Final Written Decision disposing of IPR2013-00395, the Board determined that NuVasive showed by a preponderance of the evidence that claims 1–6 of the ’696 Patent are unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 103(a) as obvious over the combination of three references, Michelson, Wagner, and Brantigan. In its recent Final Written Decision disposing of IPR2013-00396, the Board determined that NuVasive showed by a preponderance of the evidence that claims 7-12 of the ’696 Patent are unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 103(a) as obvious over a different combination of three references, including Steffee, Michelson, and Kim.
On August 17, 2012, Warsaw Orthopedic, Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Medtronic Puerto Rico, and Osteotech filed a complaint against NuVasive alleging infringement of U.S. patents numbers 8,021,430 and 5,676,146. In its two petitions for inter partes review, NuVasive stated that Warsaw Orthopedic asked the Court for permission to add the ’696 patent to the lawsuit. On July 24, 2013 Warsaw’s request was granted.