Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Real World Difficulty in Combining Prior Art Teachings Does Not Trump Express Suggestion to Combine

In concluding that one of ordinary skill in the art would be motivated to combine the teachings of a prior art betting system with the teachings of a prior art banking system, the court found a suggestion to combine where the betting system stated that its “voice response unit can be applied to other fields" and listed potential applications, including "credit card checking" and "deposit balance information." The court rejected plaintiff's argument that the "urgent time pressures" associated with "[the] betting system . . . are not present in a remote access banking system." "The question is not whether the specific implementations described in [the two prior art systems] can be seamlessly integrated. When dealing with different applications like betting and banking, problems would undoubtedly result from combining those implementations. Such facts do not tend to show that particular features from each reference should not be combined for the purposes of determining whether a disputed claim is obvious. The correct question is whether a person of ordinary skill in the art would be motivated to combine the specific elements from the references that would result in the claimed invention. . . . [Here the betting reference] provides an express suggestion to combine [its] technology with financial applications like [the banking reference], and any problems associated with combining specific implementations do not teach away from the claimed combination."

Ronald A. Katz Technology Licensing L P v. Echostar Communications Corporation et al., 2-07-cv-06222 (CACD January 29, 2010, Order) (Klausner, J.)

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