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Patentability: “non-obviousness” and “common sense”

On May 30, 2012, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) put further gloss on the term “common sense” as used by the Supreme Court in the 2007 case of KSR v. Teleflex.

This new case (Mintz v. Dietz & Watson) involved a patent on casings for hot dogs with a woven mesh pattern. The CAFC opinion criticized the district court for finding the patent claim to have been obvious, under the “common sense” rubric. The CAFC explained that “common sense” is a “shorthand label for knowledge so basic that it certainly lies within the skill set of an ordinary artisan.”

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