The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today ruled against Hologic (NSDQ:HOLX) in a patent spat with Minerva Surgical, upholding a ruling from the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board that claims on a patent Hologic owns, related to detecting perforations in body cavities during ablation, are unpatentable as obvious.
In the case, Minerva challenged the patent, held by Hologic, filing a petition for an inter pares review and asserting that a number of claims on the patent are obvious over various combinations of prior art references, according to court documents.
Minerva provided a number of different prior references, four of which are referenced in the appeals court documents, most of which deal with monitoring pressure levels within body cavities.
Hologic argued that the language it used in its patent related to uterine ablation, reading “monitoring for the presence of a perforation in the uterus using a pressure sensor,” was not described in prior patents, which Minerva argued against.
Marlborough, Mass.-based Hologic also argued that a skilled artisan would need experience with uterine devices to develop it, which the lower court rejected as the patent in question “explicitly discloses that the invention is applicable to body cavities generally and indicates that the problem with perforations is not unique to the ablation of the uterus,” according to court documents.
The appeals court considered the arguments from Hologic but agreed with the PTAB, saying that “the Board correctly construed the step of ‘monitoring for the presence of a perforation in the uterus using a pressure sensor’ and that substantial evidence supports the Board’s determinations regarding level of skill n the art and motivation to combine,” according to court documents.
Last July, a federal court jury awarded Hologic nearly $5 million in damages in a patent infringement lawsuit with Minerva brought over their respective endometriosis devices.
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