Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Long Felt Need Prior to Existence of Prior Art Irrelevant to Obviousness Analysis

The court granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment that defendant's caption correction patent was invalid as obvious in light of two prior art patents and rejected defendant's evidence of the secondary considerations of nonobviousness of long-felt need and failure of others. "[U]sers of captioning devices would always be searching for a faster device. However, in the context of this case, the question is not simply whether the invention in the [patent-in-suit] may have been faster than other products, but whether the invention . . . is obvious in light of [two prior art patents]. Thus, in determining whether the failure of others to make the invention in the [patent-in-suit] sooner is evidence of nonobviousness, the relevant time frame is not the time in which users of captioning devices wanted a faster product but the time in which others failed to combine the elements of the [prior art patents] as defendants did. . . . [T]he filing date of the [patent-in-suit] is [less than 2 years after a prior art patent was filed]. It seems unlikely that such a short period of time could qualify as probative evidence of nonobviousness."

Ultratec, Inc. et al v. Sorenson Communications, Inc. et al, 3-13-cv-00346 (WIWD August 28, 2014, Order) (Crabb, J.)

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