Introduction 


On October 15, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) made a decision in St. Jude Medical, LLC v. Snyders Heart Valve LLC. Snyders Heart Valve LLC is the owner of U.S. Patent No. 6,540,782 (“the ‘782 patent”), titled “Article of Footwear Having a Textile Upper.”


The ‘782 patent relates “to valve implants, and more particularly to artificial heart valves for repairing damaged heart valves.” St. Jude Medical, LLC appeals the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) in the previously petitioned two “inter partes review of claims 1,  2,  4–8, 10–13, 17–19, 21, 22, and 25–30 of the ’782 patent (the challenged claims).” In the first inter partes review, “IPR2018-00105 (IPR-105), the Board ultimately ruled that St. Jude had failed to establish unpatentability of any of the challenged claims.” While in the second inter partes review, “IPR2018-00106 (IPR-106), the Board found claims 1, 2, 6, and 8 anticipated by the Bessler patent, but it rejected St. Jude’s contentions as to all other claims.” The key prior art for IPR-105 is U.S. Patent No. 5,957,949 (Leonhardt), while the key prior art for IPR-106 is U.S. Patent No. 5,855,601 (Bessler). 


Decision


Per the standard, the Federal Circuit “review[ed] the Board’s final written decision under the Administrative Procedure Act” for both IPR-105 and IPR-106. Regarding the initial two inter partes reviews, the Federal Circuit reviewed both Leonhardt and Bessler.  


Initially, St. Jude argued that “Leonhardt anticipated claims 1, 2, 4–8, 10–13, 17–19, 21, 22, and 25–30 of the ’782 patent,” for IPR-105. While in IPR-106 St. Jude argued that “the same claims were anticipated by Bessler, as well as unpatentable for obviousness over Bessler, Johnson, and Imachi.” For IPR-105, the Board rejected St. Jude’s argument because the Board found that St. Jude did not prove that Leonhardt disclosed” a component of the heart valve. The Board then reviewed the St. Jude’s arguments in regard to Bessler for IPR-106 and “determined that St. Jude did not prove that Bessler discloses” a different component of the heart valve. The Board also rejected their obvious arguments.  


During the review, the Federal Circuit determined in regard to IPR-105 “St. Jude’s basis for its argument … does not address … defining terms of the claim construction.” Thus, the Federal Circuit rejects the challenge to the IPR-105 decision and “affirm the Board’s decision in IPR-105.” Furthermore, in regard to IPR-106, “St. Jude has not demonstrated the unreasonableness of the Board’s determination that St. Jude did not adequately or persuasively establish the motivation to make the particular combination it proposed in arguing obviousness.” Thus, the Federal Circuit “affirm[s] the Board’s obviousness determination in IPR-106.” However, the Federal Circuit did “conclude that Bessler does not meet this limitation and therefore cannot anticipate claims 1, 2, 6, and 8,” thus “hold[ing] that claims 1, 2, 6, and 8 are not anticipated by Bessler, and … revers[ing] the Board’s contrary determination.”  


For the reasons above, the Federal Circuit affirms the Board’s judgement.  


Conclusion 


This decision determines that when considering broadest reasonable interpretation of claims, said claims must be considered with regard to the specification.  


Full St. Jude Medical, LLC v. Snyders Heart Valve LLC decision can be read here: http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/19-2108.OPINION.10-15-2020_1669672.pdf 


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed throughout this blog are the views and opinions of the individual author(s) and/or contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of our firm, CIONCA IP Law. P.C. 

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