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What’s Next After Arthrex? Reactions Suggest Limited Immediate Effect, But Some Question Whether CAFC Fix Will Hold

The Federal Circuit’s decision in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc. generated excitement late last week, when many initially speculated that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) would not be able to continue operations as usual in light of the ruling. However, now that the dust has settled, it seems more likely that the effects of Arthrex will be limited to a small subset of cases. While he could not comment on next steps directly as it is a pending matter, USPTO Director Andrei Iancu suggested during a panel at the John Marshall Law School’s 63rd IP Conference in Chicago on Friday that the Office would not be significantly burdened by the decision. USPTO guidance is likely to be issued soon. Of course, the decision has not done much to bolster the already shaky reputation of the PTAB or its Administrative Patent Judges with some, and there are several scenarios in which the Federal Circuit’s quick fix to avoid shutting down the Board entirely might be challenged. Below are some early reactions to the ruling and predictions about how it may play out. 

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