Features

Trevor Arnold – Arthrex

Going the distance

It’s not your typical day at the office, walking around a cadaver lab in Naples, Florida. While the sun shines outside, Trevor Arnold is in a large climate-controlled lab, watching dozens of doctors perform intricate operations on the bodies.

Donned in medical scrubs, rubber gloves and a mask, Arnold is taking note of what’s taking place in the name of medical science—and the law.

Trevor Arnold – Arthrex

Trevor Arnold | General Counsel | Arthrex

As the chief intellectual property counsel for Arthrex, a medical-device manufacturer specializing in orthopedic and surgical implants, Arnold is conducting field research to protect the company’s products and surgical techniques with patents.

“One of our most important assets here, other than our employees, is our intellectual property,” he says.

Hands on

The weekly visit is part of Arnold’s routine. Meeting with engineers and surgeons, he takes notes on how they’re using the human body in areas like anatomical education, medical-device training and prototype testing—the first phase of developing and protecting patented products.

Trevor Arnold – Arthrex

When Arthrex first started experimenting on cadavers more than 30 years ago, the resulting insights allowed the company to develop products and arthroscopic techniques such as passing sutures through tissue, tendons and ligaments to anchor them to the bone.

More specifically, doctors and developers needed to know how to repair soft tissues, ligaments and tendons through arthroscopic cannulas (tubes), rather than in an open procedure.  With that knowledge, the team could refine its work to create better instruments and implants, as well as more efficient and reproduceable processes.

“Understanding how things work is the mainstay of what we do,” Arnold says. “There’s a lot of trial and error, all of which is important. Conducting work cadaver labs over the years we can design around certain patents and connect with doctors to modify processes when things aren’t working as well as we would like.”

Winning hand

Time spent in the lab can also pay dividends in the courtroom. When a competitor wanted Arthrex to pull portions of its wrist-plating system off the market, for instance, Arnold and his team turned to Washington, D.C.-based Venable in May 2018.

Venable has provided IP litigation and counseling services to Arthrex for years. The case culminated last fall in a “hybrid” trial because the court system was closed for live jury trials because of COVID-19. Although Venable attorneys were present in the Delaware courtroom, they had to prepare and present the Arthrex witnesses remotely in Florida.

Trevor Arnold – Arthrex

A federal judge then ruled in March that Arthrex hadn’t infringed on the competitor’s patent for a hook-shaped bone plate.

“As a company, Arthrex always strives to do the right thing,” says Venable partner and Leader of IP Litigation Technology Megan Woodworth. “In its product offerings, this means making the best products it can for surgeons to treat their patients. That belief system carries through to the legal department, which isn’t afraid to challenge.”

“Trevor exemplifies the spirit of fighting for what is right,” added Woodworth. “His deep knowledge of the company’s product offerings allows him to make challenging legal decisions quickly and decisively.”

Olive branch, or big stick?

Over the years, Arnold has made good-faith efforts to reach out to competitors, with the goal of minimizing misunderstandings and working things out ahead of time. And, he says, his lawyers are “forever scanning competitors’ activity for signs of infringement.

If Arthrex decides a competitor has crossed the line, Arnold won’t hesitate to take them to court—which can run up a legal tab of $5 million, even for matters with only one or two patents at issue. Even if Arthrex wins and is awarded less in damages than the cost of the litigation, it will do so to defend its patents, he adds.

The company recently took one of its cases all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in Arthrex, Inc. V. Smith & Nephew, Inc., Arnold adds, noting the ruling should be handed down in June.

“We are privately-held company and can fight things aggressively and can spend a small fortune in doing so when most others would or could not,” he says.

Newfound calling

Working in the medical-technology field as an international IP lawyer wasn’t something Arnold ever envisioned. In fact, he was the first person in his family to go to college.

Starting off in the ROTC program at the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, Arnold became fascinated with science, earning his degree in chemical engineering in 1990. While attending a talk given by a patent lawyer during Homecoming Week, Arnold found his true career calling.

“This was my first opportunity to hear what a patent lawyer does and to get to talk to one and ask questions,” he says.

Degree in hand, Arnold attended the University of Dayton School of Law (with a concentration in IP law), earning his J.D. in 1993. Unlike most prospective attorneys, those in patent law are required to have an engineering degree—and take a separate patent bar exam with a lower pass rate.

After earning his J.D., Arnold spent nearly a decade in private practice—including five years as a litigator, where he provided legal counsel to architects and engineering firms in construction litigation matters before shifting to IP litigation and patent law for the next five years.

Trevor Arnold – Arthrex

He first worked inhouse in 2003 as a senior patent counsel for Medtronic, a medical technology, services and solutions provider. First working in its cervical division in the Spine and Biologics Unit in Memphis, Tennessee, he became lead IP counsel in its surgical technologies business unit in Jacksonville, Florida.

In 2007, he joined Roper Technologies as a corporate IP counsel, handling everything from litigation due diligence to portfolio protection—on behalf of no fewer than 40 subsidiaries. Arnold found his way to Arthrex in 2014. There, in addition to handling the licensing and litigation requirements, he also reads, researches and goes to trade shows.

It’s a heavy workload but worth the effort to develop life-changing implants. And the company has his back.

“It’s an advantage of being at a private company and being able to take a case to court and not have to settle it,” says Arnold. “If we think we’re right we can fight it all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Published on: June 21, 2021

regions:

categories:

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.

Testimonials

It was a great honor to be featured in Vanguard Law. Working with every member of the team, from the initial interview with Erin Clark, through production with Victor Martins, writing the article with Taryn Plumb and creating the final content with Dave Gushee, was a true pleasure. Everyone was very professional, enthusiastic and supportive, and their creative approach and positive attitude clearly came through in the final product.
– Kevin C. Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Compliance with Radian Group Inc.
As promised in advance, my feature in Vanguard has increased my visibility within the profession and prompted more than a few people I have not communicated with recently to reconnect. One of the Italian law firms I have used in the past is now in the process of interviewing me for an article on their website and tweeting out the feature story. Activity and the number of people connecting with me on LinkedIn has soared, which is great. The Vanguard writers and editorial staff were great to work with—highly professional and made the effort to make the experience both fun and rewarding (they were also respectful of the time pressures and demands all lawyers face). I was very pleased with the experience and the final outcome. Needless to say, I have been very pleased. All in all working with Vanguard has been a very positive experience which generated good publicity for both Shawcor and myself. My sincere thanks.
– Tim Hutzul, General Counsel, ShawCor Ltd.
I was honored to be the subject of an article. I enjoy reading Vanguard articles and seeing how other attorneys got to their positions and see their jobs. It's also interesting to see how different law firms partner with the subjects of the articles.
– Henry Marquard, in-house counsel, Stanley Consultants Inc.
The piece highlighting my company, Bob Baker Enterprises, Inc., came out fabulous. Our company is in the new and used car sales and service industry. Everyone was great to work with and extremely professional. They produced a high-quality product and have provided expert assistance and guidance post-production of the article.
– Wade Poulson, General Counsel, Bob Baker Enterprises Inc.

LATEST EDITION

Summer II 2021

READ NOW

GET VANGUARD IN YOUR INBOX.

  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.