My current reads are the first two cases that cite KSR v. Teleflex. Primary interest will have to be given to the ruling of the CAFC in Leapfrog v. Fisher-Price. It affirms an obviousness determination, as being consistent with the “common sense” approach set out in KSR. That “sense of those skilled in the art” comes into play where “familiar elements” are combined “according to known methods” and not unexpectedly that combination will “yield predictable results.” After reading through this part of the Leapfrog ruling, one still wonders if the test will distill down to a well-developed record, that on review, appears to reach a common sense conclusion about obviousness.
The somewhat scary passage in may have application to numerous computer-aided combinations. “Accomodating a prior art mechanical device” so that it will provide the result using “modern electronics” likely results in an obvious combination. It had seemed that the advent of business method patents and computer-driven combinations had about obsoleted the rule that a known combination does not become novel by changing the matter or elements that previously performed the same operation and provided the same result, e.g., a computer that makes change, instead of the store clerk having to do that my manual arithmetic. Here, the prior art had “an electric motor and mechanical structures rather than a processor and related electronics.” However, obviousness was suggested by the fact that the prior art mechanical device “acheives the goals described” in the later-patented, computerized combination. All that was done was “to update it using modern electronic components,” that is, to adapt “an old idea or invention  using newer technology that is commonly available and understood in the art.” For a lot of patents, that could be a killer, and in Leapfrog the “evidence of secondary considerations was inadequate to overcome” that.