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Allied Erecting and Dismantling Co., Inc. v. Genesis Attachments, LLC.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

June 15, 2016

ALLIED ERECTING AND DISMANTLING CO., INC., Appellant
v.
GENESIS ATTACHMENTS, LLC, Appellee

         Appeal from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board in No. 95/001, 352.

          Daniel H. Brean, The Webb Law Firm, Pittsburgh, PA, argued for appellant. Also represented by Richard L. Byrne, James G. Porcelli.

          Ryan Wayne Massey, Harness, Dickey & Pierce, PLC, Troy, MI, argued for appellee.

          Before Newman, Dyk, and Wallach, Circuit Judges.

          WALLACH, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Allied Erecting and Dismantling Co., Inc. ("Allied") appeals the United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board's ("PTAB") decision, on inter partes reexamination, concluding that claims 1–21 of U.S. Patent No. 7, 121, 489 ("the '489 patent") would have been obvious over German prior art reference DE 297 15 490 U1 ("Caterpillar") (J.A. 131–44) and U.S. Patent No. 4, 283, 866 ("Ogawa") (J.A. 145–51). See Genesis Attachments, LLC v. Allied Erecting & Dismantling Co., No. IPR2014-001006, 2014 WL 7274949 (P.T.A.B. Dec. 19, 2014); (PTAB decision denying rehearing) (J.A. 2–8). For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the PTAB's decision.

         Background

         I. The '489 Patent

         The '489 patent, entitled "Multiple Tool Attachment System, " is directed to heavy machinery tools used for construction and demolition that can be attached to a universal body, which in turn can be attached to "multiple tools, such as a heavy-duty metal cutting shear, a plate shear, a concrete crusher, [or] a grapple." '489 patent col. 1 ll. 22–24. Traditionally, such tools (i.e., shears, crushers, grapples, etc.) were designed independently, such that "one type of tool associated with each body [] can have the greatest possible utility and application." Id. col. 1 ll. 60–62. According to the '489 patent, this approach did "not provide a system for easily changing tools or a system which allows complete[ly] separate tools to efficiently share a common structure." Id. col. 2 ll. 30–32. As a result, one purpose of the '489 patent is "to provide a multiple tool attachment system which is easily converted between a plurality of distinct tools." Id. col. 2 ll. 44–46. To achieve this objective, the '489 patent describes a "quick change feature[]" that enables different demolition tools to be efficiently substituted for one another. Id., Abstract.

         Figure 1 of the '489 patent (illustrated below) is illustrative of the claimed invention. It depicts a shear (10) attached to a body (18), which is then attached to a piece of demotion equipment, such as a backhoe (not illustrated). Body (18) is referred to as a "universal body . . . because it remains common to a series of tools or tool units [i.e., jaw sets] in the attachment system." Id. col. 5 11. 60-61.

         Image Omitted.

         Id. fig 1; J.A. 80.

         The body (18) depicted above in Figure 1 is referred to as a "universal body . . . because it remains common to a series of tools or tool units [i.e., jaw sets] in the attachment system." Id. col. 5 U. 59-61. As illustrated in Figure 1, each jaw set of the shear has a main pin (16) about which jaws (12 and 14) can rotate. "A bridge housing 48 surrounds the main pin 16 and is utilized for quickly and easily attaching the main pin 16 and the associated jaw set to the universal body 18." Id. col. 6 11. 56-59.

         Figure 57 (depicted below) of the '489 patent illustrates the structure of the bridge housing. Sides (19) of universal body (18), (see Figure 1) terminate at receiving member (42) that fits between two bridge housing plates (405 and 406). Receiving member (42) has a curved surface (412) formed via a cutaway that engages with cylindrical sleeve (408), and surrounds main pin (16) (see Figure 1). When receiving member (42) is engaged with sleeve (408), apertures (52) will be ahgned and keeper pins (50) can be inserted to attach the bridge housing to the universal body. Id. col. 6 11. 63-65.

         Image Omitted.

         Id. fig.57.

         Independent claim 1 (as amended) is representative of the claimed invention and recites:

A tool set for coupling to the receiving member of a body having hydrauhcally powered
blades, the tool set comprising:
a pair of movable blades pivoted together about a main pivot pin;
a bridge housing encasing the main pivot pin, wherein the bridge housing is separate from themo ...

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