Monday, November 19, 2012

Prima facie obviousness in Ex parte Champion

Within Ex parte Champion

“In proceedings before the Patent and Trademark Office, the Examiner bears the burden of establishing a prima facie case of obviousness based upon the prior art.” In re Fritch, 972 F.2d 1260, 1265 (Fed. Cir. 1992).
“The combination of familiar elements according to known methods is likely to be obvious when it does no more than yield predictable results.” KSR Int’l Co. v. Teleflex Inc., 550 U.S. 398, 416 (2007). “If a person of ordinary skill can implement a predictable variation, § 103 likely bars its patentability.” Id. at 417.

Moreover, an “[e]xpress suggestion to substitute one equivalent for another need not be present to render such substitution obvious.” In re Fout, 675 F.2d 297, 301 (CCPA 1982). As noted by the Court in KSR, “[a] person of ordinary skill is also a person of ordinary creativity, not an automaton.” 550 U.S. at 421. (...)

Kubin stated that “[r]esponding to concerns about uncertainty in the prior art influencing the purported success of the claimed combination, this court [in O’Farrell] stated: „[o]bviousness does not require absolute predictability of success ... all that is required is a reasonable expectation of success.”‟ In re Kubin, 561 F.3d 1351, 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2009) (citing In re O'Farrell, 853 F.2d 894, 903-904 (Fed. Cir. 1988)). (...)
We also do not find the teaching away argument persuasive. A teaching away requires a reference to actually criticize, discredit, or otherwise discourage the claimed solution. See In re Fulton, 391 F.3d 1195, 1201 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (“The prior art‟s mere disclosure of more than one alternative does not constitute a teaching away from any of these alternatives because such disclosure does not criticize, discredit, or otherwise discourage the solution claimed”). (...)

We summarily affirm the provisional obviousness-type double patenting rejection. See Manual of Patent Examining Procedure § 1205.02 (“If a ground of rejection stated by the examiner is not addressed in the appellant‟s brief, that ground of rejection will be summarily sustained by the Board.”); See also In re Berger, 279 F.3d 975, 984 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (in which the Board affirmed an uncontested rejection of claims under 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph, and on appeal the Federal Circuit affirmed the Board‟s decision and found that the appellant had waived his right to contest the indefiniteness rejection by not presenting arguments as to error in the rejection on appeal to the Board).


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