From the category archives:

Exam Concepts

5. In accordance with the patent laws, rules and procedures as related in the MPEP, which of the following does not constitute prior art upon which a primary examiner could properly rely upon in making an obviousness rejection under 35 USC 103?

(A) A U.S. patent in the applicant’s field of endeavor which was issued two years before the filing date of applicant’s patent application.

(B) A non-patent printed publication in a field unrelated to the applicant’s field of endeavor but relevant to the particular problem with which the inventor-applicant was concerned, which was published the day after the filing date of applicant’s application.

(C) A printed publication published more than 1 year before the filing date of applicant’s patent application, which publication comes from a field outside the applicant’s field of endeavor but concerns the same problem with which the applicant-inventor was concerned.

(D) A printed publication in the applicant’s field of endeavor published 3 years before the filing date of applicant’s patent application.

(E) A U.S. patent which issued more than 1 year before the filing date of applicant’s patent application, which the Office placed in a different class than the applicant’s patent application, but which concerns the same problem with which the applicant-inventor was concerned, and which shows the same structure and function as in the applicant’s patent application.

 

5. ANSWER: (B) is the most correct answer. MPEP § 2141.01. Quoting from Panduit Corp. v. Dennison Mfg. Co., 810 F.2d 1561, 1568, 1 USPQ2d 1593, 1597 (Fed. Cir.), cert. denied, 481 U.S. 1052 (1987), MPEP 2141.01, under the heading “Prior Art Available Under 35 U.S.C. 102 Is Available Under 35 U.S.C. 103,” states “‘[b]efore answering Graham’s ‘content’ inquiry, it must be known whether a patent or publication is in the prior art under 35 U.S.C. § 102.’ Subject matter that is prior art under 35 U.S.C. § 102 can be used to support a rejection under section 103. Ex parte Andresen, 212 USPQ 100, 102 (Bd. Pat. App. & Inter. 1981) (‘it appears to us that the commentator [of 35 U.S.C.A.] and the [congressional] committee viewed section 103 as including all of the various bars to a patent as set forth in section 102.’).” Because the printed publication in (B) was not published until after the filing date of the patent application, it does not constitute prior art. (A) is incorrect because the patent pre-dates the application, therefore qualifying as prior art, and comes from the same field as the application, therefore qualifying as analogous. (C) is incorrect because the printed publication pre-dates the application, therefore qualifying as prior art, and concerns the same particular problem sought to be solved in the patent application, therefore qualifying as analogous. (D) is incorrect because the printed publication pre-dates the application, therefore qualifying as prior art, and comes from the same field as the application, therefore qualifying as analogous. (E) is incorrect because the patent issued before the application, therefore qualifying as prior art, and concerns the same particular problem sought to be solved in the patent application, therefore qualifying as analogous. The USPTO classification in a different class does not render the patent nonanalogous. See MPEP § 2141.01(a) (“While Patent Office classification of references . . . are some evidence of ‘nonanalogy’ or ‘analogy’ respectively, the court has found ‘the similarities and differences in structure and function of the inventions to carry far greater weight.’”).

{ 4 comments }

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