Dsakamot 2/4/11 homework
The patent that I’m doing this assignment on is Patent no. 2,627,798: Clamp for vibrating shank plows (hereinafter called the ‘798 patent). The inventor was William T. Graham and the patent was issued on Feb. 10, 1953. The purpose of this invention was to design a device that would absorb shock from the plow shanks if used during rocky soil, helping to prevent damage to the plow. When the chisel encounters an obstruction, it forces the chisel and bottom portion of the shank to move up. The shank also fits loosely into the stirrup which prevents it from recoiling away from the hinge plate and prevents extreme strain near the bolted connection on the shank. The validity of this patent has come under question due to a question of non-obviousness. Based on the two previous patents, Patent no. 2,493,811: Vibrating plow and mounting thereof (hereinafter called the ‘811 patent) and Patent no. 2,014,451: Fastening device (hereinafter called the Pfeifer patent), an analysis will be made arguing for and against the validity of the patent.
Argument for non-obviousness
One of the components that is nonobvious in the ‘798 patent is the innovation in including a stirrup to have the shank be rigidly fixed in the hinge plate not seen in the ‘811 patent. One of the problems that occurred in the ‘811 patent is that the shank will recoil away from the hinge plate whenever it encountered an obstruction. While it will be obvious for someone of ordinary skill to have a bolted connection of the shank to the hinge plate to prevent excessive strain on the near the bolted connection, what is nonobvious is that the stirrups will also gird the shank, preventing it from fishtailing. By stopping the fishtailing, excessive wear will disappear from the plow and will not be recognized by a person of ordinary skill.
The ‘798 patent also fulfilled secondary considerations allowable under Lyon v. Bausch & Lomb (1955). One of these considerations is that the new invention result in something that will be more economically advantageous. The ‘798 patent fulfills this obligation by taking an old model and making it with less materials, resulting in a cheaper product. This simplified and more compact design undoubtedly results in a more viable product to sell and enrich the public.
Argument for obviousness
The ‘798 patent has touted “innovations” which merit protection. When comparing the prior art of this patent, however, it’s clear that these improvements do not fit the criteria set forth in Title 35, Part II, Chapter 10, Section 103 One of the new components that the ‘798 patent claims to have is a fastening device that enhances stability on the horizontal flanges and better distributes the forces acting upon it. This claim, however, is invalid because the fastening device in question is in the Pfeifer patent. This device is still under patent protection because 20 years had not elapsed from 20 years of its filing date. Because the device in question is not in the public domain, it doesn’t belong to Graham and thus results in an invalid patent.
The other obvious difference in the ‘798 patent was that force was reduced on the pivot pin by manufacturing it above the shank rather than below it. One of the problems seen in the ‘811 patent was that having the hinge plate below the shank rather than above it would cause wear on the upper plate, a part that was difficult to fix or replace. This difference in position would cause a change in the flex of the shank reducing stress for its entire length. Based on this observation, it’s apparent that if a person of ordinary skill would be able to utilize this to the entire length of the shank, rendering the patentability of this invention to be invalid. Moreover, this flexing argument wasn’t raised during the Patent Office. It’s also clear that any flexing advantages are not significant in any way to the function of the device according to testimony of experts in the field. In short, this patent in no way fulfills the non-obviousness requirement of the patentability of inventions.