Intellectual Property & Agriculture: Obvious Inventions


In our earlier post – Intellectual Property & Agriculture – we reviewed the issues around patented herbicide-resistant seeds. A recent Federal Court of Appeal decision deals with patented machinery in the agriculture industry. To be patentable, an invention cannot be obvious to someone who is skilled in that industry. In other words, the invention must be “non-obvious”. In Bridgeview Manufacturing Inc. v. Central Alberta Hay Centre 2010 FCA 188, the court reviewed the question of whether a particular bale processor infringed the patent owned by Bridgeview. The alleged infringer fought back by saying the patent was invalid due to obviousness.  In Canada, the court uses a four-part test to determine whether a patent is invalid for obviousness:

  1. Identify the hypothetical “person skilled in the art” and the relevant common general knowledge of that person. 
  2. Identify the “inventive concept” of the patented claim .
  3. Are there any differences between the “state of the art” and the “inventive concept” of the claim in the patent?
  4. Viewed without any knowledge of the alleged invention as claimed, would those differences be obvious to the “person skilled in the art” or do they require any degree of invention?

By this analysis, the court found that the patent was not invalid for obviousness and the appeal was allowed on that point.

Calgary – 07:00 MT 


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