Stryker (NYSE:SYK) subsidiary Mako Surgical won a round in its patent war with Smith & Nephew‘s (NYSE:SNN) Blue Belt Technologies last week, after the U.S. Patent Trial & Appeal Board declared parts of a Blue Belt patent invalid.
Mako last year asked the patent trial board for an inter partes review of the patent, no. 6,757,582 covering “Methods and systems to control a shaping tool.” The review board found that Mako proved that 11 of the patent’s claims are unpatentable, but failed to show that another 32 claims are invalid.
The ruling hinged on 2 independent claims on which the other disputed claims depended, according to the PTAB’s final decision.
“Patent Owner argues that the broadest reasonable interpretation of ‘tracking data associated with the workpiece’ recited in claim 1 is ‘data that identifies a position of an object over time within a coordinate system.’ Patent Owner argues that the broadest reasonable interpretation of ‘track the cutting tool and the workpiece’ recited in claim 17 is ‘identify a position of the cutting tool and of the workpiece over time within a coordinate system.’ Petitioner disagrees with Patent Owner’s proposed interpretations and argues that the term ‘track’ or ‘tracking’ is not explicitly defined in the Specification of the ‘582 patent, and, therefore, the term ‘track’ is used ‘according to its ordinary meaning, which is “to observe the progress of” or “follow” something,'” according to the decision.
“For example, the above passages refer to ‘tracker,’ ‘track’ and ‘tracking data.’ They are presumed to be separate terms, not 1 in the same. Yet Patent Owner’s reference to passages that include a description of the tracker, for example, without an explanation is not particularly helpful in determining what are tracking data or what it means to track the workpiece. The tracker does a whole host of things, one of which is to track, and another is to include tracking data,” the trial board found.
A related lawsuit brought by Mako in 2014 in the U.S. District Court for Southern Florida was stayed pending the results of the inter partes review, according to court documents.