Best Medical International, Inc. v. Elekta Inc.,, No. 21-2099 (Fed. Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
BMI’s 096 patent is generally directed to a method and apparatus for conformal radiation therapy of tumors using a pre-determined radiation dose. To account for the three-dimensionality of tumors, the gantry of a radiation machine—which houses the radiation beam—rotates around a patient to irradiate the tumor from different angles. The gantry uses a multileaf collimator to narrow the radiation beam and conform it to the shape of the tumor. The 096 patent purports to improve upon prior art by computing an optimal radiation beam arrangement that maximizes radiation of a tumor while minimizing radiation of healthy tissue.
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board, in two inter partes reviews, found that a person having ordinary skill in the art would have had formal computer programming experience. Elekta’s expert had that experience; BMI’s did not. The Board accordingly discounted BMI’s expert testimony and determined Elekta had proven that challenged claims 1, 43, 44, and 46 were unpatentable as obvious. Before filing an appeal, BMI finally canceled claim 1 during an ex parte reexamination. The Federal Circuit affirmed unpatentability determinations with respect to the other claims as supported by substantial evidence regarding the level of skill in the art and each of the remaining Graham factors.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on August 29, 2022.