Monday, October 19, 2020

St. Jude does not fare well at the CAFC in SNYDERS HEART VALVE case

The outcome: St. Jude appeals on a subset of the challenges it presented to the Board. For IPR-105, it argues that the Board erroneously rejected the contention that Leonhardt anticipated claims 1, 2, 4–8, and 28, the alleged error being the Board’s application of the construction of the claim term “band.” For IPR-106, St. Jude argues that the Board erroneously rejected the contention that Bessler anticipated claim 28, the alleged error being the Board’s finding a failure of proof that Bessler meets claim 28’s “manipulator” limitation. St. Jude also argues, for IPR-106, that the Board erred in rejecting St. Jude’s challenge to most of the claims at issue (all but claims 17, 27, and 30) for obviousness over Bessler plus Johnson and Imachi. Snyders crossappeals in IPR-106, arguing that the Board committed several errors in finding claims 1, 2, 6, and 8 anticipated by Bessler. We affirm the Board’s decision in IPR-105. We reverse the Board’s finding in IPR-106 that Bessler anticipated claims 1, 2, 6, and 8. We need not reach St. Jude’s anticipation argument as to claim 28, and we affirm the Board’s obviousness rejection in IPR-106. Of the issue in 106: Both parties challenge aspects of the Board’s decision in IPR-106. We begin by addressing the challenge presented by Snyders, in its cross-appeal, to the Board’s finding that Bessler anticipated claims 1, 2, 6, and 8. We then address St. Jude’s argument that the Board erred in not finding claim 28 anticipated. Lastly, we address St. Jude’s obviousness challenge. (...) The claim’s reference to “repairing a damaged heart valve,” without any reference to removal, suggests that the native valve remains. So too does the claim’s reference to the damaged heart valve “having a plurality of cusps,” which appears superfluous if claim 1 is interpreted to include embodiments where the damaged valve and its cusps are removed. See Wasica Fin. GmbH v. Cont’l Auto. Sys., Inc., 853 F.3d 1272, 1288 n.10 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (“It is highly disfavored to construe terms in a way that renders them void, meaningless, or superfluous.”); Bicon, Inc. v. Straumann Co., 441 F.3d 945, 950 (Fed. Cir. 2006) (“[C]laims are interpreted with an eye toward giving effect to all terms in the claim.”). We turn to the ’782 patent’s specification, which we conclude resolves the interpretive question in this case under the standard requiring the “broadest reasonable interpretation in light of the specification.” 37 C.F.R. § 42.100(b) (2016); see also Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1315 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc) (explaining that the specification “is the single best guide to the meaning of a disputed term”). The specification states that “the frame is sized and shaped for insertion between the plurality of cusps C of the damaged heart valve in a position between an upstream region and a downstream region.” ’782 patent, col. 5, lines 48–51 (emphasis added). That language indicates that “sized and shaped” is not meant to refer only to placement in a position between the upstream and downstream regions, but also to fitting between the cusps of the intact native valve.


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