• Monday, July 15th, 2013

A federal appeals court overturns a ruling by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that a bone plate patent owned by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Synthes is valid, handing a win to orthopedics rival Smith & Nephew.

A federal appeals court handed a win to Smith & Nephew (FTSE:SN, NYSE:SNN) in its patent battle with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary Synthes, overturning a decision by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that a Synthes-owned patent for a bone plate is valid.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in a rare decision to go against the patent office’s appeals board, ruled that claims in the so-called ‘744 patent would have been obvious to a person skilled in the art – namely, an orthopedic surgeon with 2 years’ experience implanting plates to fix fractures in long bones like the femur.

“While the ‘substantial evidence’ standard of review for the [patent office appeals board’s] factual findings makes Smith & Nephew’s burden on appeal a heavy one, we are satisfied, after careful review, that Smith & Nephew has met that burden and has shown that the claims at issue would have been obvious,” wrote Judge William Bryson, according to court documents.

http://www.massdevice.com/news/appeals-court-nixes-synthes-patent-spat-with-smith-nephew

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