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Another argument against obviousness September 17, 2012

Posted by Brian Schar in Federal Circuit, Patent prosecution.
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As I catch up on recent Federal Circuit precedential decisions, I was struck by this piece of analysis in Kinetic Concepts v. Smith and Nephew:

“Because each device independently operates effectively, a person having ordinary skill in the art, who was merely seeking to create a better device to drain fluids from a wound, would have no reason to combine the features of both devices into a single device.” (at page 46)

The Federal Circuit seems to be saying that, if the prior art teaches two devices that are effective for a particular purpose, there is no rationale for combining those devices in order to accomplish a different purpose.  That is, if A and B are equally effective at solving problem X, then there is no reason to combine them to solve problem X, or a different problem Z not mentioned in either reference.  I need to think about this one some more, but nevertheless I do think that this Kinetic Concepts argument against combining references may be just as useful as the major MPEP 2143.01 arguments.

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