KSR Karch

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Patent on a pedal apparatus

Claim 4 of the patent, at issue here, describes:
“A vehicle control pedal apparatus comprising:
a support adapted to be mounted to a vehicle structure;
an adjustable pedal assembly having a pedal arm moveable in for[e] and aft directions with respect to said support;
a pivot for pivotally supporting said adjustable pedal assembly with respect to said support and defining a pivot axis; and
an electronic control attached to said support for controlling a vehicle system;
said apparatus characterized by said electronic control being responsive to said pivot for providing a signal that corresponds to pedal arm position as said pedal arm pivots about said pivot axis between rest and applied positions wherein the position of said pivot remains constant while said pedal arm moves in fore and aft directions with respect to said pivot.” Id., col. 6, lines 17-36, Supplemental App. 8 (diagram numbers omitted).

Ruled obvious: failed non-obvious requirement
Sensors had been used on pedals for a long time, putting it on the pivot does not make an invention

Prior art or ordinary skill
TSM: Teaching, suggesting, motivation - combine to be obvious

CAFC: court of appeals for the federal circuit
PTO: Patent trademark office

If A then B means: if -B then -A
Does not mean if -A then -B

Throughout this Court's engagement with the question of obviousness, our cases have set forth an expansive and flexible approach inconsistent with the way the Court of Appeals applied its TSM test here.

-If the combination may be obvious, but the result is unpredictable, the invention is non-obvious


1. District court ruled patent invalid
2. Court of Appeals ruled patent valid
3. Supreme court ruled patent invalid - obvious

User: Sam Karch