Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Tsai's bicycle rack unhitched by CAFC

The case is about a re-examination of claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,240,816 related to a bike rack: The ’816 patent is directed to a bicycle rack for a vehicle. ’816 patent col. 1 ll. 5–6. The bicycle rack comprises a base, two beams pivotally connected with the base, at least one supporting device attached to each of the beams in order to support one wheel of the bicycle, a post pivotally connected with the base, and a hooking device attached to the post in order to hook a portion of the bicycle. The background law: We review the Board’s legal determinations de novo, In re Elsner, 381 F.3d 1125, 1127 (Fed. Cir. 2004), but we review the Board’s factual findings underlying those determinations for substantial evidence, In re Gartside, 203 F.3d 1305, 1316 (Fed. Cir. 2000). A finding is supported by substantial evidence if a reasonable mind might accept the evidence as adequate to support the finding. Consol. Edison Vo. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938). The scope and content of the prior art is a question of fact. See In re Mouttet, 686 F.3d 1322, 1330 (Fed. Cir. 2012). The presence or absence of a motivation to combine references is also a question of fact. See Novartis Pharms. Corp. v. West-Ward Pharms. Int’l Ltd., 923 F.3d 1051, 1059 (Fed. Cir. 2019). Of a filed declaration: Tsai also contends that the Board improperly ignored the declaration of Kevin Wren (Wren Declaration). Appellant’s Br. at 19. The Board, however, correctly determined that the declaration’s arguments were non-responsive to the examiner’s rejection of the claims. J.A. 20. The Wren Declaration incorrectly stated that the “claims assert a clean and unimpeded access to the vehicle,” and also stated that a skilled artisan would want a bicycle rack post that leaned away from the vehicle to permit access to the back of the vehicle. J.A. 211–12. But as the Board found, the claims do not require such an “access” feature, nor does this contention defeat the examiner’s reasons for combining the cited references. J.A. 20. The concept of "design choice" appears: Without evidence to the contrary, the examiner reasonably found that it would have been a “mere matter of engineering design choice” for a skilled artisan to mount the rotating beams higher in the base’s walls so that the bottom does not interfere with the rotation. J.A. 482. The Board agreed with the examiner’s findings regarding SportRack, James, and Pedrini ’163. J.A. 21. Thus, substantial evidence supports the Board’s determination that the combination of SportRack, James, and Pedrini ’163 would still allow the beams of the resulting combination to rotate without interference. Is "simple physics" a variant of "common sense"? Further, “[s]imple physics would have led those in the art to the location of the likely dynamic stress points relative to the hitch mount in such a system, and routine design modifications without undue experimentation would have led to the resultant location of such wing reinforcements.” The conclusion includes some harsh language: We have considered Tsai’s remaining arguments and find them either forfeited, too skeletal and underdeveloped and/or unpersuasive. link: http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/20-1347.OPINION.11-30-2020_1692523.pdf


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