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Christina Sperry

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[email protected]

+1.617.348.3018

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Christina is a seasoned patent attorney who has deep capabilities around drafting and prosecuting patents related to the electrical, mechanical and electro-mechanical fields. She represents companies and academic institutions across the medical technology spectrum as well as a variety of other technology companies. She helps patent innovations related to medical and surgical instruments and devices, mechanical products and processes, digital health and other technology apps, computer hardware, and software. Providing opinions on infringement, validity, and right-to-use is also integral to her practice.

Christina is an experienced patent attorney whose clients are focused in the medical technology space, from start-ups to large corporations and academic institutions. She advises on patent preparation and prosecution and provides opinions on infringement, validity, and right-to-use for clients in the US and internationally.

The areas of technology in which Christina is particularly focused include mechanical, electrical, and electro-mechanical technical fields such as medical and surgical instruments and devices including endoscopic, soft tissue, and spinal technologies; printer and imaging technology; wireless technology; semiconductors; computer hardware; computer network technology; software such as database management systems, communication protocols, and graphics interfaces; financial services; cell sorting technology; and radar technology.

While in law school, Christina served as the executive editor of the Journal of Science & Technology Law.

Education

  • Boston University School of Law (JD)
  • University of Texas - Austin (BS, Electrical Engineering)

Experience

  • Represent private equity-owned Wayne Fueling Systems, formerly a division of General Electric, which manufactures fuel dispensers for petroleum retailers and commercial fleets, and compressed natural gas fueling pumps. Mintz handles worldwide patent and trademark strategy and prosecution, and enforces those protections in the US and abroad. The firm's relationship attorney serves as outside patent counsel and sits on the patent review committee, working directly with the company's stakeholders in developing patent strategy.
  • Advised medical device client on developing and implementing a post-litigation strategy. Having lost a patent litigation (in which they were represented by another law firm), Mintz attorneys helped the company assess whether they could keep their product on the market during the appeal process. We then provided advice on how to create possible design-arounds for the product to ensure it was clear of infringing the patents at issue, in the event that the appeal was unsuccessful.

Recognition & Awards

  • Included on the Massachusetts Super Lawyers list (2016 – 2018)

Involvement

  • Member, Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
  • Member, Boston Patent Law Association
  • Member, Boston Bar Association
  • Board of Directors and Chair of Website and Internet Communications Committee, Friends of Christopher Columbus Park

Viewpoints

Viewpoint
In July 2019 the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) newly designated four decisions as informative to highlight the PTAB’s general consensus on issues considered in these cases.  All four cases involve the PTAB applying the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s January 2019 guidance for determining subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  The decisions focus on whether claims integrate a judicial exception into a practical application so as to be subject matter eligible. 
Viewpoint
The decision whether to issue a Restriction Requirement during patent prosecution lies with the patent examiner, not the patent applicant.  A Restriction Requirement can nevertheless trigger prosecution history estoppel that limits the scope of an applicant’s issued claim.  The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in UCB, Inc. v. Watson Laboratories Inc. helps show how this situation can happen and how applicants can help prevent an examiner’s decision from adversely affecting patent scope.
Viewpoint General
Patent practitioners, inventors, in-house counsel, and patent examiners alike have been clamoring for more guidance on computer-implemented functional claim limitations invoking § 112(f) since the Federal Circuit’s en banc Williamson v. Citrix decision in 2015. To help answer some of those pleas, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a Federal Register notice on January 7, 2019 to address issues under 35 USC § 112.
Viewpoint General

Understanding Antedating of a Prior Art Reference for a Patent

April 17, 2019 | Blog | By Christina Sperry

The Federal Circuit’s decision in ATI Technologies ULC v. Iancu (April 11, 2019) highlights the proper standard to use in evaluating whether a claimed invention was reduced to practice before the effective date of a prior art reference.
Viewpoint General
The general rule is that a patent claim’s preamble does not limit the claim unless the preamble gives life, meaning, and vitality to the claim.  The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Arctic Cat Inc. v. GEP Power Products, Inc. (March 26, 2019) considers the situation where a patentee wants a preamble to be a required claim limitation, unlike the more typical situation where a patentee does not want a claim preamble to be limiting, such as in Pacing Technologies v. Garmin International previously discussed HERE.  The court deciding in Arctic Cat that the preambles at issue were not required claim limitations highlights important considerations for patent application drafting and for crafting post-issuance arguments.
Viewpoint General

Patent Term Adjustment: The Real Meaning of Applicant Delay

February 6, 2019 | Blog | By Christina Sperry, Elissa Kingsland

On January 23, 2019, the Federal Circuit decided Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. vs. Iancu and shed light on Patent Term Adjustment (PTA).  PTA was established by the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 and codified at 35 U.S.C. § 154(b), which defines three kinds of United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) delays, “A” delay, “B” delay, and “C” delay, and sets forth certain reductions from the summation of the Type A, B, and C delays.  One of these reductions relates to Applicant delays.  For an overview of PTA, see our prior articles here and here.
Viewpoint General

Year in Review: The Most Popular Blog Posts of 2018

January 30, 2019 | Blog | By Christina Sperry

As 2019 begins and intellectual property (IP) strategies are being developed for the new year, it is a good time to reflect on what IP issues were prominent in 2018.  According to many readers, hot topics included handling IDSs and obviousness during U.S. patent prosecution, blockchain, PTAB rules, and subject matter eligibility under Section 101.
Viewpoint General

Understanding Priority Claims for U.S. Patent Applications: Part 2

November 27, 2018 | Blog | By Christina Sperry, Elissa Kingsland

This article is second in a two-part series focusing on various issues related to priority claims in U.S. patent applications.  While Part 1 is a general overview of how to make a proper priority claim, this article addresses how to make a timely post-filing priority claim in an application and how to correct an improper priority claim.  Timeliness is crucial to avoid high fees and ensure that an earlier priority date is not lost.  The procedures discussed below are post-America Invents Act (AIA) procedures applicable to applications and issued patents filed on or after March 16, 2013.
Viewpoint General
As in any technology area, it is important to consider patent protection early in the development of an AI-related invention. However, AI inventions raise a number of particular issues that, if not addressed fully or at the right time, could be fatal to securing U.S. patent protection that would otherwise be available to prevent others from making, using, selling, or importing the invention. This article identifies common pitfalls in getting a patent for AI inventions and provides insights on how to avoid them. These principles apply not only to AI-related inventions, but also to digital health inventions more broadly.
Patent practitioners are probably well familiar with circumstances in which prosecution history estoppel can limit the scope of a U.S. utility patent’s claims.  Examples include claim amendments and statements made by the applicant during prosecution in papers filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).