Friday, January 07, 2005

Jore v. Kouvato: design patents and obviousness

Another case involving an affirmance, based on a different ground than employed by the district court, is the non-precedential Jore v. Kouvato case, concerning a design patent.

This is another case in the "be careful of what you wish for" category, because the plaintiff Kouvato, assignee of US Design Patent 419,575, ended up getting the patent invalidated for obviousness.

The case touches on a "teaching away" issue, wherein the CAFC corrects the district court, citing to In re Gurley, 27 F3d 551.

Another interesting issue was the use by the plaintiff Kouvato of a sales brochure of the defendant to establish "long felt need," a secondary consideration in obviousness.

We have discussed issues with the "substantial evidence" standard elsewhere in IPBiz. In the present case, the CAFC effectively overturned a jury verdict. The trick is that obviousness is a question of law, and the jury's findings have to support the LEGAL conclusion (Georgia Pacific, 195 F3d 1322).


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