- Ignoring KSR. Obviousness doesn't require a motivation to combine from the references. After KSR, the test is instead "articulated reasoning with some rational underpinning" to combine the references. See my previous post "Mistake #6 when arguing at the BPAI: Arguing the TSM test for obviousness".
- Using the wrong standard for "teaching away." The Federal Circuit has said that disclosure of an alternative to X is not teaching away from X. In re Fulton, 391 F.3d 1195, 1201 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (“the prior art’s mere disclosure of more than one alternative does not constitute a teaching away from any of thesealternatives because such disclosure does not criticize, discredit, or otherwise discourage the solution claimed.”)
- Making obviousness arguments in an anticipation rejection. Non-analogous art is irrelevant to anticipation (see previous post here). Teaching away is irrelevant to anticipation (see previous post here). Secondary considerations such as unexpected results are irrelevant to anticipation (see previous post here).
- Bringing up the number of references when arguing obviousness. The Federal Circuit has said that the number of references is not an indicator of non-obviousness. In re Gorman, 933 F.2d 982 (Fed. Cir. 1991) ("The large number of cited references does not negate the obviousness of the combination, for the prior art uses the various elements for the same purposes as they are used by appellants, making the claimed invention as a whole obvious in terms of 35 U.S.C. § 103.")
- Bringing up the age of the references when arguing obviousness. The Federal Circuit's predecessor has said that the age of the references is not an indicator of non-obviousness. "The mere age of the references is not persuasive of the unobviousness of the combination of their teachings, absent evidence that, notwithstanding knowledge of the references, the art tried and failed to solve the problem." In re Wright, 569 F.2d 1124 (CCPA 1977)(citing In re McGuire, 416 F.2d 1322 (CCPA1969)).
- Bringing up another that patent issued with similar claim language. The patentability of other applications is legally irrelevant. See my previous post "Arguments guaranteed to lose: 'but look at these similar claims in other issued patents'."
- Making arguments about due process and equal protection. The BPAI has no jurisdiction over these issues. For the Board's response to a due process argument, see the inter partes reexam decision here in Meadwestvaco v. Graphic Packaging Int'l. See the post here at The Florida Patent Lawyer blog for the Board's response to an equal protection argument.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Mistake #9 when arguing at the BPAI: Arguments that ignore relevant case law
Mistake #9 of my "Top Ten Mistakes Applicants Make at the BPAI" is making arguments that clearly go against existing case law. Here are the most common examples I've observed.