We agree with the district court that one of ordinary skill in the art of children’s learning toys would have found it obvious to combine the Bevan device with the SSR to update it using modern electronic components in order to gain the commonly understood benefits of such adaptation, such as decreased size, increased reliability, simplified operation, and reduced cost. While the SSR only permits generation of a sound corresponding to the first letter of a word, it does so using electronic means. The combination is thus the adaptation of an old idea or invention (Bevan) using newer technology that is commonly available and understood in the art (the SSR). We therefore also find no clear error in the finding of the district court that one of ordinary skill in the art could have utilized the electronics of the SSR device, with the method of operation taught by Bevan, to allow a child to press each individual letter in a word and hear the individual phonemes associated with each letter to sound out the words.
This combination of Bevan and the SSR lacks only the “reader” of claim 25 of the ’861 patent. The district court found that readers were well-known in the art at the time of the invention. As there is ample evidence in the record to support that finding, we find no clear error in the court’s determination. Furthermore, the reasons for adding a reader to the Bevan/SSR combination are the same as those for using readers in other children’s toys—namely, providing an added benefit and simplified use of the toy for the child in order to increase its marketability. Leapfrog presents no evidence that the inclusion of a reader in this type of device was uniquely challenging or difficult for one of ordinary skill in the art. See KSR, 2007 WL 1237837, at *15. Nor does Leapfrog present any evidence that the inclusion of a device commonly used in the field of electronics (a reader), and even in the narrower art of electronic children’s toys, represented an unobvious step over the prior art. Our conclusion is further reinforced by testimony from the sole inventor at trial that he did not have a technical background, could not have actually built the prototype himself, and relied on the assistance of an electrical engineer and Sandia National Laboratory to build a prototype of his invention.
Finally, we do not agree with Leapfrog that the court failed to give proper consideration to secondary considerations. The district court explicitly stated in its opinion that Leapfrog had provided substantial evidence of commercial success, praise, and long-felt need, but that, given the strength of the prima facie obviousness showing, the evidence on secondary considerations was inadequate to overcome a final conclusion that claim 25 would have been obvious. We have no basis to disagree with the district court’s conclusion.
In light of our review of the evidence and the lack of any clear error in the district court’s factual findings, we agree with the district court’s conclusion that claim 25 of the ’861 is invalid as obvious in view of the combination of Bevan, the SSR device, and the knowledge of one of ordinary skill in the art concerning readers.
For the reasons stated, we affirm the district court’s grant of judgment that Fisher-Price’s PowerTouch device does not infringe claim 25 of the ’861 patent and that claim 25 of the ’861 patent is invalid as obvious.
AFFIRMED. Previous Page ->