obvIPat - Obviously Patentable

The blog for inventors, in-house counsel, & entrepreneurs.

CAFC Weekly: July 23, 2010

by Orlando Lopez

There was only one precedential case this week, Wyers v. Master Lock, involving three patents assigned to Wyers, for hitch locks used to secure trailers attached to vehicles.  The issue presented to the District Court jury was whether the patent claims were obvious.  The jury found that the claims were not obvious.  Master Lock’s motion for Judgment as a Matter Of Law stating that the patent claims were obvious was denied and Master Lock appealed.  Whether a patent claim is obvious is a question of law based on underlying facts.  The CAFC, giving no deference to the jury, found the patent claims at issue to be obvious as a matter of law.  Besides bringing out the mongrel nature of questions of obviousness, the opinion also includes a good discussion of what is analogous art after the Supreme Court opinion in KSR, as well as a good discussion of motivation to combine references in order to find a claim obvious, as viewed after KSR.

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