Lighting Ballast: The Federal Circuit has denied a motion for another en banc rehearing in the longstanding lighting ballast case. Thus, the latest panel decision should stand that affirms the district court holding that the claimed “voltage source means” is not a means-plus-function case. That outcome is largely based upon the appellate court giving deference to the lower court’s factual findings that were derived from expert testimony discussing the level of skill in the art.
Patent Reform: Senator Grassley’s PATENT ACT of 2015 (S.1137) has been placed on the Senate Calendar queue after having been reported out of committee in June. The bill also includes a number of substantive amendments.
ShowerThoughts: Our objective system of judging obviousness almost always gathers more prior art than was actually known to the inventor at the time of the invention. This means that (for valid patents) the inventor’s actual inventive-step (based upon what the inventor knows) is typically greater than what is required by law – perhaps significantly so.