A separate ground the Court of Appeals gave for reversing the order for summary judgment was the existence of
a dispute over an issue of material fact. We disagree with the Court of Appeals on this point as well. To the extent the court understood the Graham approach to exclude the possibility of summary judgment when an expert
provides a conclusory affidavit addressing the question of obvious-ness, it misunderstood the role expert testimony plays
in the analysis. In considering summary judgment on that question the district court can and should take into
account expert testimony, which may resolve or keep open certain questions of fact. That is not the end of the issue, however. The ultimate judgment of obviousness is a
legal determination. Graham, 383 U. S., at 17. Where, as here, the content of the prior art, the scope of the patent
claim, and the level of ordinary skill in the art are not in material dispute, and the obviousness of the claim is apparent in light of these factors, summary judgment is
appropriate. Nothing in the declarations proffered by Teleflex prevented the District Court from reaching the careful conclusions underlying its order for summary judgment in this case.
* * *
We build and create by bringing to the tangible and palpable reality around us new works based on instinct, simple logic, ordinary inferences, extraordinary ideas, and sometimes even genius. These advances, once part of our shared knowledge, define a new threshold from which innovation starts once more. And as progress beginning from higher levels of achievement is expected in the nor-mal course, the results of ordinary innovation are not
the subject of exclusive rights under the patent laws. Were it otherwise patents might stifle, rather than promote, the progress of useful arts. See U. S. Const., Art. I, §8, cl. 8.These premises led to the bar on patents claiming obvious subject matter established in Hotchkiss and codified in §103. Application of the bar must not be confined within
a test or formulation too constrained to serve its purpose.
KSR provided convincing evidence that mounting a modular sensor on a fixed pivot point of the Asano pedal was a design step well within the grasp of a person of ordinary skill in the relevant art. Its arguments, and
the record, demonstrate that claim 4 of the Engelgau patent is obvious. In rejecting the District Court’s rulings,
the Court of Appeals analyzed the issue in a narrow, rigid manner inconsistent with §103 and our precedents. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the
case remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered