Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., No. 18-1584 (Fed. Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Arthrex’s 541 patent describes a surgical suture anchor used to reattach soft tissue to bone. The disclosed “fully threaded suture anchor” includes “an eyelet shield that is molded into the distal part of the biodegradable suture anchor.” In an inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled two claims invalid. In doing so, the Board employed different language than Smith & Nephew, Inc.’s petition to explain why a person of ordinary skill in the art would have been motivated to combine the teachings of the prior art. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The Board’s minor variation in wording does not violate the safeguards of the Administrative Procedure Act and did not deprive Arthrex of an opportunity to be heard. The Board’s findings have substantial evidence support, its claim constructions are correct, and Arthrex has not articulated a cognizable constitutional challenge to inter partes review for its patent.