Obviousness

The Patent Act stipulates that the subject matter defined by a claim in an application for a patent in Canada must be subject matter that would not have been obvious on the claim date to a person skilled in the art or science to which it pertains. The word “invention” implies ingenuity, without which an advance is obvious; and patents are not granted for the obvious.

February 3, 2022
A photo of an iPhone screen showing an icon to launch the Google app.

Google’s AdWords Defeats Competitor’s Patent Infringement Claim

Canada's Federal Court dismissed allegations by Paid Search Engine that Google infringed a patent for optimizing paid search engines.
January 24, 2022
Photo of a pharmacist holding out a yellow pill in one hand and a white pill in another hand. A patient reaches for the yellow pill.

Teva Blocks Competitor With Patent for 40 mg/mL Dose of Copaxone®

Outside Canada, Teva’s Copaxone® 40mg/mL dosing patents have been invalidated for obviousness, making way for generic competitors.
March 26, 2021
Photograph of an oil and gas pump.

Federal Court Applies Its Own Claim Construction to Infringement Case

2021 FC 85: The Federal Court upheld the validity of all claims, but found that PetroChina was not infringing Maoz Betser-Zilevitch's patent for an SAGD.
March 3, 2021
Model of a human brain photographed in an anatomy lab.

A Closer Look: CAFC Finds Immersion Photography Claims Are Obvious

Fed Cir, 2019-1927: The CAFC overturned a finding of non-obviousness by the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board on a patent owned by Melanoscan, LLC.
November 16, 2020
An orange backhoe on a construction site with mountains in the background.

Federal Court Finds Patent Obvious in Summary Judgment

2020 FC 997: In a summary judgement for patent impeachment, Canada's Federal Court found a patent for heating hydraulic booms to be invalid for obviousness.
September 10, 2020
Photo of a pair of shoes dangling off the edge of a building while lights shine on a bridge in the distance at night.

Identical Preambles: Limiting in One Patent, Not Another

Fed. Cir. 2019-1622: The CAFC found the same preamble created different limitations for different patents, limiting one patent but not the other.
April 16, 2020
Photograph of white pharmaceutical pills on a blue background.

Prima Facie Obviousness Established From Similar Compounds, Overlapping pH

Fed. Cir. 2018-2097 — The CAFC ruled that Valeant's patent for Relistor(R) is prima facie obvious based on similar compounds with overlapping pH ranges.
November 14, 2019
Photo of the interior of an airplane cabin, showing a row of seats.

Airbus Gets Another Shot at Patent for “Breathable Fire-Preventative” Air

Fed. Cir. 2019-1803 – CAFC sides with Airbus, finding that prior art references may be analogous even if they are outside the "field of endeavour."
September 20, 2019
Macro (close-up) photo of a hazel coloured human eye, eyelashes, and eyelid.

Allergan’s Glaucoma Patents Saved by “Wherein” Clauses

CAFC 2018-2207 – The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that “wherein” clauses in patent claims can be limiting if they are material to patentability.
September 13, 2019
Fibre optic cable photographed in the dark

Patent Specification Interpreted as Admission of Common General Knowledge

2019 FC 1065 – Canada's Federal Court ruled that two fiber optics patents were obvious in light of an admission made in the background sections.
July 2, 2019
Vials containing pharmaceuticals (drugs)

Oxymorphone Patent Is Not Obvious, Federal Circuit Confirms

CAFC confirms that an invention is only obvious and ineligible for a patent where a skilled person would have had a “reasonable expectation of success.”
June 11, 2019
avx

CAFC Refuses to Hear Appeal from Patent Decision

AVX Corporation v Presidio Components (Fed. Cir., 2018-1106) A case recently dismissed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) confirms that […]
June 4, 2019
Pharmaceutical research

When Can New Uses for Known Drugs Be Patented?

Fed. Cir., 2018-1434 - CAFC clarifies the test for obviousness where the invention claims a use of a known drug.
November 23, 2018

PAB Rejects Application: Ambiguous and Indefinite Claims are Unpatentable

PAB 1453 – The Patent Appeal Board found that Canadian Patent Application No. 2,612,950 for a “system and method for generating real-time indicators in a trading list or portfolio” was obvious, the claims did not define statutory subject matter and were indefinite.
November 7, 2018

US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Confirms Test for Obviousness

Fed. Cir. 2017-1977 – The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit confirms the legal standard for obviousness in patent law.
July 10, 2018

Federal Court of Appeal Provides Further Guidance on Obviousness

2017 FCA 225 - Federal Court of Appeal upheld the trial level decision invalidating Ciba's Canadian patent for obviousness, and elaborated on the obviousness inquiry, endorsing an approach that focuses on construing the claims rather than identifying the inventive concept.
January 9, 2018
subject matter

Call Processing System Patent Rejected for Lack of Statutory Subject Matter and Obviousness

PAB 1420 - Canadian Patent Application No. 2,529,210 filed by Assurant Inc. for a system that routes customer calls based on a sales agent’s past performance was rejected by the Patent Appeal Board, at least for the reasons of non-statutory subject matter and obviousness.
December 19, 2017

Federal Court Upholds Pfizer’s Polymorph Patent for the Depression Drug PRISTIQ as Inventive and Useful

2017 FC 777 - The FC rejected Teva’s allegations that Pfizer's Canadian patent was obvious and lacked utility. The FC found that the POSITA would not have been able to predict the novel crystalline form taught by the patent, and that the subject-matter of the invention claimed in the patent was useful.
December 12, 2017

Federal Court shoots down an attempted revival of the promise doctrine

2017 FC 774 - The FC granted Pfizer's order pursuant to Section 6 of the PM(NOC) Regulations, prohibiting the Minister of Health from issuing a NOC to Apotex, with respect to a Canadian patent The FC found, on a balance of probabilities, that Apotex’s allegations of obviousness, inutility, non-infringement, overpromising, anticipation and double patenting were not justified.
November 7, 2017
tadalafil

Apotex Fails to Change FCA’s Opinion in Tadalafil Case

2016 FCA 267 - Apotex unsuccessfully sought to show that the FCA had erred in another decision by not following the SCC's decision in Whirlpool. Apotex also unsuccessfully argued that the FC had erred by finding the tadalafil patent to have sufficient disclosure.