Friday, January 25, 2013

Trinidad government succeeds in re-exam of "steel pan [music] device"

The Board decision in MINISTRY OF LEGAL AFFAIRS, TRINIDAD, W.I. v. TREVOR KING was an appeal from re-examination 95/000,255, with the requestor Ministry of Legal Affairs, Trinidad, West Indies. The Board affirmed obviousness rejections.

Claim 1 from US 6,750,386 begins:

A cycle of fifths steel pan device comprising:

a first series of musical instruments bonded in a 360 degree circumference (...)

KSR was invoked:

“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).


Argument (b) is unsupported by objective evidence of record and is therefore merely conclusory. Attorney argument does not take the place of evidence where evidence is required. Even so, Appellant has not explained why a need to “remake the pan” would have rendered the modification unobvious nor that the modifications would have been so extensive as to require more than the “ordinary creativity” possessed by the person of ordinary skill. See KSR Int'l Co. v. Teleflex Inc., 550 U.S. 398, 421 (2007) (“A person of ordinary skill is also a person of ordinary creativity, not an automaton.”).


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