CAFC Affirms PTAB Ruling that Ballistic Parachute System Patent Claims Are Obvious
On March 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) obviousness determination and its denial of patent owner Hoyt Fleming’s motion to amend the asserted claims of the U.S. Patent No. RE47,474. Cirrus Design Corp. petitioned for inter partes review of multiple claims, including claims 135-139, of the ’474 patent. During the proceeding, Fleming moved to amend, seeking to replace the asserted claims with proposed substitute claims. The Board concluded that claims 137-139 were unpatentable as obvious over the combination of Cirrus Design’s Pilot Operation Handbook for the SR22, Revision A7, (Oct. 10, 2003) (POH) and U.S. Patent No. 6,460,810 (James). The Board further found that Fleming’s proposed amended claims did not meet the statutory and regulatory requirements for patentability because they lacked written description support and thus constituted new matter. On appeal, Fleming argued the Board erred in determining that the asserted claims are unpatentable and in denying his motion to amend.