蛙跳 Enterprises, 在 c. v. Fisher-Price, 在 c., 06-1402 (Fed. Cir. 2007) 的Court of Appeals for 的Federal Circuit’s (“CAFC”)自 韩国铁路国际’l诉Teleflex公司.,美国550,__,2007年WL 1237837(2007)Leapfrog向地方法院上诉’发现被告PowerTouch设备未侵犯Leapfrog’美国专利号5,813,861(“the ‘861 patent”) and that claim 25 of 的‘861专利无效。  The 中国民航总局 affirmed 的district court’基于明显性的非侵权和无效性调查结果,最少涉及 韩国铁路 and almost no guidance regarding 的CAFC’未来的明显性分析。

Focusing exclusively 上 的obviousness portion of 的opinion, claim 25 of 的‘861专利的内容如下:

25.一种交互式学习设备,包括:

包括多个开关的壳体;

a sound production device in communication with 的switches and including a processor and a memory;

至少一个字母序列的描述,每个字母与一个开关相关联;和

a 读者 configured to communicate 的identity of 的depiction to 的processor,

其中,选择描绘的字母会激活关联的开关以与处理器通信,从而使声音产生设备生成与与所选字母关联的声音相对应的信号,该声音由字母在字母序列中的位置确定。

鉴于授予Bevan的美国专利3,748,748(“Bevan patent”), Texas 在 struments’ Super Speak & Read (“SSR”)设备,以及本领域普通技术人员的知识。  蛙跳’s position before 的CAFC was that 的Bevan专利 teaches a mechanical device, which is different in structure and function from 的electronic components described in claim 25.  蛙跳 further argued that there was insufficient evidence presented to support a motivation to combine 的teaching of 的Bevan专利 and 固态继电器.

The Bevan专利 teaches an electro-mechanical learning toy that associates letters with their sounds to encourage children to sound out words phonetically.  The preferred embodiment of 的Bevan专利 comprises a housing containing a phonograph record, a speaker to emit 的voice sounds stored 上 的phonograph record, and a motor that rotates 的record.  Uniquely-shaped puzzle pieces fit into 的top of 的housing that, when depressed, cause voice sounds corresponding to 的puzzle pieces to emit through 的speaker.  在 上e embodiment, 的device is able to produce 的letter-by-letter pronunciation of a given word where 的depression of each puzzle piece causes 的speaker to emit a voice recording of 的phoneme of that single letter.  Thus, instead of 的computer processor and other electronic components of claim 25 of 的‘861 patent, 的Bevan专利 teaches 的use of an electric motor and other mechanical structures.

The 固态继电器, in contrast, is a learning toy made with electronic components.  Specifically, 的固态继电器 has a recess in its housing to accept books with depictions that prompt 的user to depress certain areas 上 each page.  外壳包含计算机处理器,内存,扬声器和开关,可以检测用户何时按下页面的给定区域。  The 固态继电器’扬声器将发出与单词的第一个字母或单词的其余字母的发音相对应的语音声音(例如,“D” or “OG” for 的word “DOG”)当书中的那些单词被压下时。  The 固态继电器 does not allow for 的letter-by-letter pronunciation of any word.  固态继电器也不包括“reader”权利要求25的限制’s,它可以自动识别插入到外壳中的特定书籍; 固态继电器要求用户按特殊图标(例如星号)–根据图标的位置–告诉本机已插入哪本书。

在 an apparent response to 蛙跳’s point that 的prior art lacked evidence to establish a motivation to combine 的teaching of 的Bevan专利 and 固态继电器, 的CAFC explained that:

 

[a]n obviousness determination is not 的result of a rigid formula disassociated from 的consideration of 的facts of a case.  在 deed, 的常识 of those skilled in 的art demonstrates why some combinations would have been obvious where others would not.  参见KSR 在 t’l诉Teleflex公司案。,550 U.S. __,2007 WL 1237837,at * 12(2007)(“当仅产生可预测的结果时,根据已知方法进行的熟悉元素组合可能很明显。”).  Thus, we bear in mind that 的goal of 的claim 25 device was to allow a child to press a switch associated with a single letter in a word and hear 的sound of 的letter as it is used in that word.  在 this way, 的child would both associate 的sound of 的letter with 的letter itself and be able to sound out 的word 上e letter at a time to learn to read phonetically.  适应实现现代电子技术目标的现有技术的机械设备对于设计孩子的普通技术人员来说是显而易见的’s learning devices.  近年来,将现代电子技术应用于较旧的机械设备已很普遍。 (添加了重点)。

The 中国民航总局 agreed with 的district court that,

上e of ordinary skill in 的art of children’s learning toys would have found it obvious to combine 的Bevan device with 的固态继电器 to update [the Bevan device] using modern electronic components in order to gain 的普遍了解 这种适应的好处,例如尺寸减小,可靠性提高,操作简化和成本降低。  [本领域普通技术人员]可以利用Bevan教授的操作方法利用SSR设备的电子设备,以允许孩子按单词中的每个字母并听到与每个字母相关的单个音素。讲出话来。 (添加了重点)。

Acknowledging that this combination still lacks 的“reader”权利要求25的限制, 的CAFC found ample evidence in 的record to support 的district court’s ruling that,

在发明之时,读者是本领域中众所周知的。 。 。 。此外,将阅读器添加到Bevan / 固态继电器组合中的原因与在其他孩子中使用阅读器的原因相同’s toys—也就是说,为儿童提供额外的好处并简化了玩具的使用,以提高其适销性。”

蛙跳 provided no evidence to suggest that adding a 读者 to this type of device was beyond 的skill and knowledge of a person having ordinary skill in 的art or that adding a 读者 was an unobvious step over 的prior art.

蛙跳 further argued that 的district court failed to adequately consider secondary considerations.  中国民航总局表示,没有依据可以与地方法院不同意’s conclusion that “Leapfrog[’s]。 。 。商业成功,好评和长期需求的大量证据。 。 。鉴于表面相明显性显示的强度,。 。 。不足以克服最终的结论,即索赔25是显而易见的。” 

中国民航总局是否将寻求重新建立结合测试的教学,建议或动机– or something else –在单独的现有技术公开内容的组合不是常识的情况下(即,不仅是根据已知方法的熟悉元素的组合以产生可预测的结果),是许多未解决的问题之一 蛙跳.