Homework 3 (due Friday 3)~jnosal

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Based on the patents read for Wednesday’s class, the subject of non obviousness deals a lot with the usefulness of a feature. The way in which a new invention or device is discovered is also important to ensure non-obviousness. According to Black Rock v. Pavement Co. it can be stated that a combination of prior arts ideas must add up to greater than the sum of their original concepts combined. Essentially 2+2=5 and not 4 like normal addition would argue.

According to patent 811 the plow shocks were designed to use the plow pumping action to minimize the work require to plow a certain amount of land. This is arguably not the motive for Graham’s original patent because it contains features that are said to allow for the plow to pass over larger rocks without damaging the plow, something the prior could not achieve. The 811 device also used a slightly different support than the 798 did. Its mechanism allowed for a larger range of motion that did not hold in the plow I stiff motion. Also according to the Pfeifer patent the fastening device used one hooked end and was designed to hold fast corrugated sheet metal. Graham’s feature was a slight variation because it involved two hooked ends that would be resistant to a torsional stress at all times not only for a brief moment.


According to the same patents in reference with Graham’s patent but dealing with originality the outcome is slightly different. Based on the ruling of the courts in the last few cases read it is important to understand the value placed on the combination of prior art into a creation that has more value than all of the old combined. Without this requirement patents would be issued and knowledge would be removed from the innovation pool that may be very important to someone’s research or technological advancements. To ensure innovation is at its full potential the TSM test is run on any new useful device to determine if it is obvious even with regard to concepts existing in prior art. According to 103’s enactment, the existence of prior ideas does not ensure that a patent is obvious it only encourages the court to further inspect the inventions features to determine its obviousness.

In Graham’s patent the two important features are the fastener that holds the ground working tool, and the fastener that secures the bulk of the tool to the frame of the plow. Each of these features exists in prior art. The fastener to the frame which is similar to Pfeifer’s design only adds a second hooked end to the product in order to allow for torque in both directions. This feature is quite obvious to any skilled or unskilled worker who has minimal experience working with farm tools for an extended period of time. Similarly, the fastener of the ground working tool has also been conceived in the 811 patent. The part is not in one solid piece in 811 but is easy to see how the features along each side of the flat support could be welded on in a u shape that allows for complete support of the tool all along the attached end. According to this analysis the Graham patent is obvious because it would only take a skilled worker to perceive these advancements and not a true innovator.