COCHLEAR BONE ANCHORED SOLUTIONS AB v. OTICON MEDICAL AB

COCHLEAR BONE ANCHORED SOLUTIONS AB v. OTICON MEDICAL AB, Appeal Nos. 2019-1105, -1106 (Fed. Cir. May 15, 2020).  Before Newman, O’Malley, and Taranto.  Appealed from PTAB.  (Claim Construction, IPR Scope)

Background:

Oticon sought inter partes review of patented claims directed to a bone-anchored hearing aid, which transmits soundwaves transcranially from a patient’s deaf side to the patient’s non-deaf ear by selectively amplifying higher-frequency soundwaves (which weaken in strength as they traverse the skull).

The claims recited in the preamble that the hearing aid was “for rehabilitation of unilateral hearing loss.”  The patentee argued that the prior-art references taught away from use of their devices in patients with profound hearing loss, and the references were not combinable in light of the preamble.  The Board disagreed, holding that the language of the preamble was not limiting.

The Board decided that it was impossible to conduct a prior-art analysis with respect to certain claims that recited means-plus-function limitations where the specification did not disclose any corresponding structure, and thus concluded that unpatentability could not be shown with respect to those claims.

Issues/Holdings:

Did the Board err in its claim construction?  (continue reading)

Summary by:  Molly Chen

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