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102/103 Prior Art and Analogous Arts
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  1. 102/103 Prior Art and Analogous Arts Patent Law – Professor Merges 10.18.2012

  2. Sources of 102/103 Art • 35 USC 103: “differences between subject matter sought to be patented and the prior art” • Graham: “scope and content of the prior art” • What is “the prior art” for purposes of 103?

  3. § 103. Conditions for patentability; non-obvious subject matter (a) A patent may not be obtained though the invention is not identically disclosed or described as set forth in section 102 of this title, if the differences between the subject matter sought to be patented and the prior art are such that the subject matter as a whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to a person having ordinary skill in the art to which said subject matter pertains. Patentability shall not be negatived by the manner in which the invention was made.

  4. Relationship between 102 and 103 All that is obvious in light of the prior art All section 102 prior art

  5. Gradual expansion of 102/103 Prior art • 102(a): not controversial • 102(b) • The problem of “prior art” that is not actually in existence prior to the invention Recall section 103: “. . . At the time the invention was made . . .”

  6. § 103. Conditions for patentability; non-obvious subject matter (a) A patent may not be obtained though the invention is not identically disclosed or described as set forth in section 102 of this title, if the differences between the subject matter sought to be patented and the prior art are such that the subject matter as a whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to a person having ordinary skill in the art to which said subject matter pertains. Patentability shall not be negatived by the manner in which the invention was made.

  7. Pfaff v. Wells Pfaff Filing Date Pfaff Invention Date Pfaff Critical Date Pfaff on sale activity

  8. What if Pfaff had filed a claim that was novel? • On sale: Invention with 3 elements, A, B and C • File claim: 4 elements, A, B, C and D • Element D makes the claim NOVEL • But what about section 103?

  9. Relationship between 102 and 103 All that is obvious in light of the section 102(b) prior art All section 102(b) prior art

  10. In re Foster (1965): 102(b) IS a proper source of 103 prior art In re Bass, 474 F.2d 1276, 177 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 178 (C.C.P.A. 1973) • 102(g) IS a proper source of 103 prior art

  11. In re Foster, 343 F.2d 980, 988, 145 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 166 (C.C.P.A. 1965): [T]he contention seems to be that 102(b) has no applicability where the invention is not completely disclosed in a single patent or publication, that is to say where the rejection involves the addition to the disclosure of the reference of the ordinary skill of the art or the disclosure of another reference which indicates what those of ordinary skill in the art are presumed to know, and to have known for more than a year before the application was filed. . . .

  12. In re Foster (cont’d) On logic and principle we think this contention is unsound, and we also believe it is contrary to the patent law as it has actually existed since at least 1898.

  13. First, as to principle, . . . we cannot see that it makes any difference how [the public] came into … possession [of the information], whether by a public use, a sale, a single patent or publication, or by combinations of one or more of the foregoing. In considering this principle we assume, of course, that by these means the invention has become obvious to that segment of the “public” having ordinary skill in the art.. . . .

  14. Relationship between 102 and 103 All that is obvious in light of the section 102(e) prior art All section 102(e) prior art

  15. Hazeltine Research, Inc. V. Brenner, 382 U.S. 252 (1965) 102(e) as a source of 103 Prior Art

  16. Prior art Regis filed Dec. 23. 1957

  17. The Wallace patent, however, was pending in the Patent Office when the Regis application was filed. The Wallace application had been pending since March 24, 1954, nearly three years and nine months before Regis filed his application and the Wallace patent was issued on February 4, 1958, 43 days after Regis filed his application.

  18. While we think petitioners’ argument with regard to § 102(e) is interesting, it provides no reason to depart from the plain holding and reasoning in the Milburn case. The basic reasoning upon which the Courtdecided the Milburn case applies equally well here. When Wallace filed his application, he had done what he could to add his disclosures to the prior art. -- 732

  19. What about 102(f)? All that is obvious in light of the section 102(f) prior art All section 102(f) prior art

  20. Oddzon Prods v. Just Toys, Inc. • Design patent • Same standards for 102 and 103, in general

  21. Is 102(f) “prior art”? Is 102(f) more like 102(a), (b), (e), and (g)? • Or more like (c) and (d) – “loss of right? • Or not like any other provision? • Dictum in In re Bass: 102(f) is not about “prior art”

  22. Oddzon holding • District ct: prior disclosures to eventual patentee were 102(f) prior art • Recall Campbell v Spectrum Automation • “belt buckle” case • Affirmed here: continues expansion of 102 art for 103 purposes

  23. Obscure prior art and internal research teams • Expansion of 102/103 prior art • Technical definition of “inventive entities” • Problem!

  24. Inventive Entities Inventor A

  25. Inventive Entities - Overlap Inventor A Inventors A + B

  26. Inventive Entities – Overlap II Inventors A + B Inventors A + B + C

  27. Other Variations A + B + C + D A + B A + C B + C

  28. Inventive Entities - Overlap Application 1 Inventor A Inventors A + B

  29. Inventive Entities - Overlap Application 1 Inventor A Application 2 Inventors A + B

  30. The 1984 Amendment to 103 • Added what is now 103(c) “Subject matter developed by another [inventive entity], which qualifies as prior art only under 102(e), (f) or (g), shall NOT preclude patentability where subject matter and claimed invention were owned by same person or subject to obligation of assignment to same person at time invention was made”

  31. “[O]wned by same person or under obligation to assign”: the importance of Contracts! • Same prior art that would invalidate patent when created by independent parties will be REMOVED from prior art by contractual agreement by all parties

  32. Legislative activity • Cooperative Research and Technology Act of 2004, P.L. 108-453, Dec., 2004 • Extended section 103(c) to cover situation of contractual joint research projects

  33. The same benefit available under 35 USC § 103(c) will also apply to joint research teams where “the claimed invention was made by or on behalf of parties to a joint research agreement that was in effect on or before the date the claimed invention was made.”

  34. Analogous Arts

  35. Hetherington “Bladder Bags”

  36. United States Patent 4,683,949 Sydansk ,   et al.August 4, 1987 Conformance improvement in a subterranean hydrocarbon-bearing formation using a polymer gel Conformance improvement is achieved in a subterranean hydrocarbon-bearing formation using a gel. The gel components are combined at the surface and injected into the desired treatment zone via a wellbore Inventors: Sydansk; Robert D. (Littleton, CO); Argabright; Perry A. (Larkspur, CO) Assignee: Marathon Oil Company (Findlay, OH)

  37. Analogous arts: tests • From same field? • Pertinent to problem solved?

  38. Sydansk reference • Board of Appeals: same field (oil extraction) • Federal Circuit: wrong! • Storage vs extraction

  39. Sydansk: Same Problem? • Differences in conditions governing problem to be solved • Underground conditions different from storage tanks • PHOSITA faced with Clay’s problem would not look in oil extraction art – AGREE?

  40. Counterpoint: In re Paulsen • Hinge in laptop computer claim • Other mechanical arts relevant; “problem not unique to portable computers . . .” • Importance of problem focus

  41. In re Klein, 647 F.3d 1343 (Fed Cir 2011) • Invention for bird nectar mixing device • Prior art cited was from fields where solids were mixed in fixed proportions