Ethicon Loses Fed. Circ. Bid To Revive Surgical Tool Patent

By Dani Kass (May 23, 2022, 8:26 PM EDT) -- The Patent Trial and Appeal Board didn't shift the burden to a Johnson & Johnson unit to prove that its own surgical stapler patent holds up before finding it invalid as obvious, a divided Federal Circuit panel ruled Monday.

The majority of a three-judge panel agreed with the PTAB that Intuitive Surgical Inc. sufficiently proved that a skilled artisan would have been motivated to combine prior art to reach J&J subsidiary Ethicon LLC's invention and that such an artisan would have had a reasonable expectation of success. 

While the burden of proof is on Intuitive to show the patent is invalid,...

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