DONNER TECHNOLOGY, LLC, v. PRO STAGE GEAR, LLC

DONNER TECHNOLOGY, LLC, v. PRO STAGE GEAR, LLC, Appeal No. 2020-1104 (Fed. Cir. November 9, 2020).  Before Prost, Dyk and Hughes.  Appealed from PTAB.  (Obviousness; Analogous Art)

Background:

Donner petitioned for inter partes review of Pro Stage’s patent, which is directed to an improved guitar pedalboard for mounting guitar effects pedals in a manner that enables easy positioning of the individual guitar effects pedals while providing a confined and secure area for routing the cables associated with each guitar effects pedal.  Donner argued that Pro Stage’s patent was unpatentable on different grounds of obviousness that each relied on U.S. Patent No. 3,504,311 (Mullen).

Mullen is directed to plug-in electrical relays for use in an electrical circuit.  Donner relied on Mullen’s disclosure of surfaces for mounting electrical relays, cable connection openings, and areas for routing cables in their obviousness arguments.  Donner also argued that Mullen’s configuration of electrical relays installed on an electrical circuit was analogous prior art because the disclosure of Mullen was reasonably pertinent to the particular problem that is being solved in Pro Stage’s patent.  However, the Board determined that Donner failed to establish that Mullen was analogous prior art, and held that the claims of Pro Stage’s patent were valid, which Donner appealed.

Issue/Holding:

Did the Board err in finding that Mullen was not analogous prior art?   (continue reading)

Summary by:  Patrick Gildea

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