Arguing both sides of Deere (Homework 3)
Patent is valid
Anderson's Black Rock, Inc. v. Pavement Co., 396 U.S. 57 (1969) sets an immedaite precendent in this case that an item is patentable if the combination of parts is greater than the sum of the parts, it yields a patent. This case also shows a clear arguemtn outlining criteria for nonobviousness. In Black Rock case, the parts added together did not have an advantage over the seperated pieces, a key reason why that patent was held invalid.
This however is not the case for the Deere plow. The sum of these parts does yield a better invention. The changes to earlier patents yielded a more fatigue resistant design. This was clearly a novel invention, therefore we move onto nonobviousness.
The previous invention had been on the market for a number of years before the current one was made. After this new plow was invented it enjoyed a large amount of commercial success, not proving non-obviousness, but showing that it was commercially wanted. This implies that the experts in the field did not find the invention obvious and should therefore be upheld as a valid patent.
Patent is NOT valid
It is important to note that the claimed invention is a combination of parts which previously existed. There is no patent claim on an item, it is a claim on the combination of previously known items. When this is the case, precedent dictates that the formulation of this item be nonobvious to those of sufficient skill in the area as shown in Anderson's Black Rock, Inc. v. Pavement Co., 396 U.S. 57 (1969).
The fact is that a previously patented invention by Graham was identical to the current patent save only two differences 1. a translation of a joint and 2. the inversion of a piece. These small changes offere advantages over the previous models and were met with commercial success. However this does not warrant patentablility.
KSR International Co. v. Teleflex, Inc., 550 U.S. 398 (2007) proved that if sufficient evidence is given that the alteration was a natural advance for the art, it is considered obvious. It is clear that the "improvement" of the previously patented device was not an invention, but simply a slight alteration of procedure. A skilled worker in the area knows that there were fatigue issues in the original design adn that the plow would retract if it was simply hinged the other way. Limiting fatugue and the previous invention were both extremely evident in the art, therefore the alteration should be considered obvious under S 103 to someone reasonably skilled in the art.