Person Having Ordinary Skill In The Art (“PHOSITA”)

  • Factors In Determining Level Of Ordinary Skill In The Art: include (1) educational level and any specialties of the applicants; (2) type of problems encountered in the art; (3) prior art solutions to those problems; (4) rapidity with which innovations are made; (5) sophistication of the technology; (6) educational level and any specialties of active workers in the field; (7) nature of any testing described in patent (and skills required of those doing such testing). Daiichi Sankyo (Fed. Cir. 07/11/07) (non-precedential) (rev’g trial court’s finding of no obviousness based on error in identifying the PHOSITA). Cf. Hologic (Fed. Cir. 04/19/19) (non-precedential) (aff’g PTAB definition of PHOSITA and obviousness determination; Board need not consider each Daiichi factor.);  George M. Martin (Fed. Cir. 08/20/10) (invention year later than patent’s reduction to practice date, coupled with other close prior art, was evidence of simultaneous invention showing level of ordinary skill in the art).
  • Skeletal Spec. Can Be Deemed Admission Of Knowledge And Abilities Of Skilled Artisan: Absence of detailed descriptions in the Spec. can be deemed admission about level of skill in the art. Cf. In re Fox, 471 F.2d 1405, 1407 (CCPA 1973) (claim elements which are not described in detail in the Spec. are presumed to be known to those of ordinary skill in the art); In re Epstein, 32 F.3d 1559, 1568 (Fed. Cir. 1994) (citing In re Fox with approval: “we find that the disclosure of appellant’s system fails to provide the same detailed information concerning the claimed invention. In the absence of such a specific description, we assume that anyone desiring to carry out such computerized warehousing and inventory control systems would know of the equipment and techniques to be used.”) See Software Rights (Fed. Cir. 09/09/16) (2-1) (non-precedential) (rev’g PTAB non-anticipation finding, in part because Spec. describes step allegedly missing from reference “as ‘simple’ or routine”); In re Hill-Rom (Fed. Cir. 12/02/15) (non-precedential) (PTAB obviousness finding supported by Spec. not describing that “any significant modifications required” to allow combination of elements to work).
  • Although Level Of Skill Can Be Low, Person Should Possess Common Sense: Perfect Web (Fed. Cir. 12/02/09); see In re Black (Fed. Cir. 07/08/19) (2-1) (non-precedential) (aff’g ex parte obviousness rejection; “a person of ordinary skill in the art attempting to solve a problem is not wholly restricted to the literal confines of the prior art. We may assume that ‘familiar items may have obvious uses’ and that a person of ordinary skill may draw upon her knowledge and creativity to solve the same problem.”)
  • Named Inventors Ordinarily One Of Skill In The Art: noting “the rare case in which an inventor is not” one of ordinary skill in the art, and that such status ordinarily qualifies one to testify as an expert. Byrne (Fed. Cir. 11/18/11) (non-precedential).
  • References Outside Those Asserted As Anticipatory Or Part Of Obviousness Combination Can Evidence State Of The Art: “Art can legitimately serve to document the knowledge that skilled artisans would bring to bear in reading the prior art identified as producing obviousness.” Ariosa (Fed. Cir. 11/16/15) (vacating PTAB IPR decision of non-obviousness). See Genzyme (Fed. Cir. 06/14/16) (aff’g PTAB obviousness determination: “failure to make explicit findings regarding the level of skill in the art does not constitute reversible error when “the prior art itself reflects an appropriate level and a need for testimony is not shown.”)
  • Not Necessarily Error To Fail To Making Findings As To Level Of Skill In The Art: While preferable that fact finder specify level of skill in the art, failure to do so not reversible error “‘where the prior art itself reflects an appropriate level and a need for testimony is not shown.’” Rudolph Tech. (Fed. Cir. 12/22/16) (non-precedential) (aff’g in part PTO obviousness determination).
  • May Be Member Of A Team: Panel affirmed district court finding “that a person of ordinary skill would principally have a background in pharmaceutical science or chemistry but ‘would also be a member of a team, which would include an engineer or scientist with one to three years of relevant experience manufacturing and optimizing various types of film products using coating and drying processes.’” Invidior II (Fed. Cir. 07/12/19) (2-1) (aff’g non-obviousness).
    • TIPS Re PHOSITA: