Kemnetz: Homework Assignment 3
Homework Assignment 3:
Graham Patent: Clamp for Vibrating Shank Plows Plowing tool – 1951 - Allows ground working tools to pass freely over obstructions (rocks, etc) and return to normal plowing position without damaging the plow -
Patent ‘811: Vibrating Plow and Mounting Therefore Plowing tool – 1947 - Pumping action results in easier pulling of the plow and therefore less power to pull the plow - Works fine soils toward the bottom and coarse soils towards the top - Creates small pockets and ridges in the soil for collecting moisture
Pfeifer Patent: Fastening Device General Usage – 1933 - Anchors corrugated metal sheets to a supporting member
Supporting Non-Obviousness Claim:
As to the non-obviousness between Graham’s patent, it is very clear that although Graham may have used the metal fastening technique that the contending patent refers to, the resulting invention in Graham’s patent is completely non-obvious. Graham’s patent created a device that achieved similar results to the other patent, however it was able of created these similar results in a cheaper way. As can be seen from previous patent cases, cheaper often warrants a patent, even if that is the only benefit or improvement to the device.
The ‘811 patent did not explicitly claim to allow easier passage of the plow over obstructions, whereas Graham’s patent did claim this benefit. His improvement allowed for easier usage of a plow, and creating easier usage of a device is another criteria of non-obviousness, since the original inventor would have made the device easier to use if the improvement was obvious. Commercial success, unsolved needs, and failure of others are further criteria that can be considered for non-obviousness. Graham's invention experienced commercial success, filled an unsolved need in that it plowed better, and even if major changes weren't made to differentiate Graham's patent from others, the changes made the plow work better and others failed to make a plow that worked as well as Graham's.
Supporting Patent Invalidity:
Section 103 reads:
"A patent may not be obtained though the invention is not identically disclosed or described as set forth in section 102 of this title, if the differences between the subject matter sought to be patented and the prior art are such that the subject matter as a whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to a person having ordinary skill in the art to which said subject matter pertains. Patentability shall not be negatived by the manner in which the invention was made."
Graham’s patent is invalid due to the fact that it was an obvious next-step for the invention. The combination Graham invented led to the same end-result as the contending patent. Both created systems that allowed for vibrations caused by a plow moving over uneven ground, to be dampened in such as way that leads to easier usage of the plow. The improvements Graham made were obvious improvements, even if they resulted in a cheaper final product. Simply putting together components of prior art does not warrant a patent. In this case, Graham basically put together similar components in a different manner. This different "putting together" of materials was not "nonobvious" enough to warrant a patent.