AME 40590: February 4,2011 HW Assignment: Nonobviousness- Adams

From Bill Goodwine's Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

AME 40590: February 4, 2011 HW Assignment: Nonobviousness-Adams

Comparing Adams' patent no 2,322,210 with his prior art Woods' patent no 1,696,873

(Other prior arts could not be found because they were British patents from the 1800's)

To determine whether Adams’ case meets 35 USC 103 regarding nonobviousness, the Supreme Court followed a certain framework in deciding patent cases. This framework entailed looking at the following details regarding the patent:

1. The scope and content of the prior art are to be determined

2. Differences between the prior art and the claims at issue are to be ascertained

3. The level of ordinary skill in the pertinent art resolved

Other secondary consideration the Supreme Court may take into account is the presence to satisfy a long felt need for the item, and other inventors so far have failed to fulfill this need. By using this framework, it can be determined whether or not B.N. Adams patent on the wet battery is obvious or not.

A prior art cited in this case was a patent filed by Robert T. Wood in 1928. Wood recognized that Magnesium would be the best element to use in batteries as the positive electrode because of its relatively high voltage. He also knew that inventors prior to him have not solve the problem of Magnesium corroding in the battery, rendering the battery unusable. Wood solved this problem by inserting a neutral electrolyte with one or more strong oxidizing agents. Wood also noted that he has tested his theory out in dry and wet cell batteries, and in both cases Magnesium corrosion did not occur.

The claims stated by Adams in his patent application started with the statement “A battery comprising a liquid container, [and] a magnesium electropositive electrode inside the container…” Woods statement in his patent shows that using magnesium was already known in the prior art as being the optimal positive electrode; therefore using Magnesium was obvious and should have not been inserted into the claims made by Adams. This conclusion was refuted by the claim that Adams used Magnesium in a wet battery compared to a dry battery. Wood’s fails to include in his claims that his invention can be used for a wet battery as well. However, in the patent application it states in the very first line, “[t]he invention relates to primary, or voltaic, cells or batteries of either the wet or so-called dry type.” It can then be concluded that using Magnesium in a wet battery was already known.

Another claim in Wood’s patent was the use of a strong oxidizing agent. Wood's lists the different oxidizing agents that he has tested himself and found to be successful. B.N. Adams does not say that he used an oxidizing agent in his battery; however, he does list that “the liquid body comprising sulphate of magnesium, water, and fused chloride…” Chloride is an oxidizing agent. Adams may not have said that chloride is used for that purpose in the claim, but a person of ordinary skill in the pertinent art would know that the purpose of chloride would be to prevent corrosion. This interferes with the claims made by the prior art making using chloride in the water solution obvious.

With the many claims made by both inventors, it could also be asserted that Adams invention was nonobvious. Woods failed to mention what type of electronegative electrode he was using in his invention, because what he used was not inventive. Adams stated that for the electronegative electrode he used cuprous chloride. The combination of Magnesium and Cuprous Chloride was not used in prior arts. However, it could be stated that changing the combination would be comparable to a material change. A material change is not patentable because you are changing the materials based on known properties of the element or compound. However, what makes this combination developed by Adams nonobvious compared to Woods patent was that the results of this combination were unexpected. Thus, it was not just a material change, because the outcome that took place when combining these materials was not known previously.

Following the filing of Woods patent, many inventor s must have utilized Magnesium as an electropositive electrode. Thus many batteries must have existed prior to Adams' filing of his patent. Since Adam’s patent is nonobvious because he used Magnesium with another compound that created an unexpected combination, we can assume for this argument that his patent is valid. Following the filing of Adams patent, the U.S. military utilized his battery in WWII. Since batteries already existed that used Magnesium, people would not need to use Adams' battery unless its use of Magnesium provided a different end result. Thus, when the U.S. military utilized Adams patent, it can be noted that Adams patent filled a need. Thus, under secondary considerations it can be shown that if this invention were obvious then others would not have used Adams battery so quickly after filing the patent.

(Another prior art was not noted in this homework assignment, because of the prior arts unavailability)