Monday, May 10, 2021

CAFC affirms obviousness determination of PTAB in Votel case

The outcome:

The Board, for its part, noted that the ’584 application does not define or limit the term “vent,” and explained that “it is common knowledge that vents often have filters located therein or even covers/shutters.” J.A. 4. The Board further determined that the foam float pads in Bonacci would still likely allow some airflow when fitted into the openings. And the Board observed that the “vents” in the ’584 application are themselves designed to have a clip key inserted into them, thereby obstructing airflow. The Board thus concluded that the openings in Bonacci constitute “vents” within the meaning of claim 1. Appellants concede that “there is no evidence of record” that “closed cell foam” would not allow airflow and rely only on “the somewhat obvious implication” of the term. Appellants’ Br. at 7. We see no error in the Board’s determination. As to Wang, Appellants concede that Wang discloses a clip key structure for attaching an accessory to the frame but argue that the clip key in Wang is not configured to be inserted into a vent. The Board explained that the openings of Bonacci may be of any number and shape and that not all of the openings need be filled with buoyant material. The Board concluded that a person of ordinary skill “would have readily inferred that openings in Bonacci may also be configured to receive a key of a clip for an eyewear accessory, as Wang exemplifies.” J.A. 5–6. We see no error in the Board’s determination that this combination is within the scope of “the inferences and creative steps that a person of ordinary skill in the art would employ.” See KSR Int’l Co v. Teleflex Inc., 550 U.S. 398, 418 (2007). We affirm the Board’s decision that claim 1 would have been obvious over the combined teachings of Bonacci and Wang.


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