CAFC affirms PTAB in In re Zhang
The CAFC made short work of "In re Zhang."
We conclude that the Board’s findings on obviousness, including that Doi does not teach away from using the non-coated yarn of Weinle, are supported by substantial evidence. While a prior art reference may indicate that a particular combination is undesirable for its own purposes, the reference can nevertheless teach that combination if it remains suitable for the claimed invention. See In re Kahn, 441 F.3d 977, 990 (Fed. Cir. 2006) (“[T]he teaching of [a reference] is not limited to the specific invention disclosed.”). Though using the non-coated yarn of Weinle to make the knitted fabric of Doi may eliminate the advantage in hand feel provided by Doi’s coated yarn, “[a] known or obvious composition does not become patentable simply because it has been described as somewhat inferior to some other product for the same use.” In re Gurley, 27 F.3d 551, 553 (Fed. Cir. 1994). Moreover, the claims of the ’047 application are not limited to fabrics that are soft to the touch. Rather, they only require a knitted fabric made of two yarns, one that is non-coated with a lower relative melting point that is heat-bonded to itself “at a percentage of . . . crossover points.” J.A. 189. Substantial evidence supports the Board’s findings that the prior art teaches the claim elements and that a skilled artisan would have been motivated to combine the non-coated yarn of Weinle to make the heat-bonded fabric thermally bonded at the crossover points as disclosed in Doi. Mr. Zhang does not make additional arguments regarding the rejection of claim 6. We thus affirm the Board’s rejection of claims 1–13 for obviousness. Because we affirm the rejection of all pending claims under § 103(a), we decline to reach the rejection under § 112, paragraph 1. See In re GPAC Inc., 57 F.3d 1573, 1577 (Fed. Cir. 1995).
Mr. Zhang was represented by Mr. Wang, of Millington NJ.