‘Minor Variation’ in Wording Not Enough to Throw Out PTAB Ruling

Written August 29, 2019

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on August 21, 2019, held that a “minor variation in wording” between Smith & Nephew, Inc.’s IPR petition and the PTAB’s decision doesn’t justify throwing out the ruling. Arthrex Inc. v. Smith & Nephew Inc., Fed. Cir., No. 2018-1584, 8/21/19.

Smith & Nephew Inc. challenged claims of Arthrex’s US Patent No. 8,821,541, covering a surgical suture anchor used to reattach soft tissue to bone. Arthrex argued that the PTAB violated their procedural rights when it described a prior art method for casting the device as “preferred," instead of using the petition’s characterizations.

However, the Federal Circuit said that the PTAB “relied on the same references, the same disclosures, and the same obviousness theories advanced by the petition,” and affirmed the ruling.