Homework 2/4/11 901479977
Argument for Nonobviousness
The clamp for vibrating shank plows, patent 2627798, is clearly a novel idea with utility in the world of farming. The question arises however in whether the patent’s advances were obvious. The new Graham design fixed the shank rigidly to the hinge plate. This stopped the problems of fishtailing rather easily. It is worth stating that the simplicity of a design is not what matters, but rather the obviousness of such a design. I believe it took some skill to tighten the shank to the hinge plate without significantly increasing the forces on this member, and this is not obviously the best method for eliminating fishtailing. Along with this advancement, the design became more compact. Less material being used goes hand in hand with a more compact structure, and thus the new plow is less expensive to manufacture. The new patent 26277798 plow is not only better quality (due to no more fishtailing), but also less expensive should be able to be patented. I am aware that secondary considerations are not taken as seriously as hard evidence, but in the Lyon v. Bausch case, Learned Hand reasoned for them to have an effect on the outcome of patent validity cases. Overall the plow is streamlined with all the minor issues fixed and a better-controlled shank.
Argument for Obviousness
Most of the claims for nonobviousness were based on secondary considerations. It is clear that the main pieces to take into consideration are how obvious the advancements in the patent are to a person with average skill in the trade. From the 2493811 patent it is obvious that the extra support in the new plow would be advantageous to reduce wear on the flanges. It is also obvious that adding a fastening device enhances stability on the horizontal flanges with a better distribution of forces on the aforementioned flange. A more stable plow will distribute forces in a better manner and reduce the need for repairs. The forces on a critical point always need to be reduced. Therefore a reduction in the force at the pivot pin would be an obvious improvement. This was improved in patent 2627798 by manufacturing the pivot pin above the shank rather than the below. All of the above changes are obvious and simple improvements that are in no way improving the public’s knowledge, or advancing the art in any way, shape, or form. The addition of a stirrup prevented vertical oscillations of the shank. This is necessary to plow the fields more effectively. If the plow constantly oscillated, the field would be tilled unevenly, requiring a second plow. It should appear obvious then that people with average skill in the trade would try to rectify this problem, and they easily could with a simple stirrup being added. The tightening of a part as patent 2627798 does to the shank with respect to the hinge plate, is hardly an advancement either. Overall, this patent is invalid because it offers no true advancements, and more importantly, doesn’t make any improvements that are not extremely obvious.