In Iron Grip Barbell Company, Inc., et al. v. USA Sports, Inc. (Fed. Cir. December 14, 2004), the obviousness of Iron Gripâ€™s three-grip weight plate (above) did not arise from any combination of elements from the prior art.
Rather, the issue of the '015 patentâ€™s obviousness arises because the prior art showed one, two and four elongated handles on weight plates. A single elongated handle on a weight plate was disclosed by the â€™140 patent. Two elongated handles on a weight plate was disclosed by the â€™502 patent. Four elongated handles on a weight plate was disclosed by U.S. Design Patent No. 406,183 (â€œthe â€™183 patentâ€�).However, the court also noted that simply because an invention falls within a range disclosed by the prior art does not necessarily make it per se obvious. Both the genus and species may be patentable.
Nonetheless, where there is a range disclosed in the prior art, and the claimed invention falls within that range, there is a presumption of obviousness. But the presumption will be rebutted if it can be shown: (1) That the prior art taught away from the claimed invention; or (2) that there are new and unexpected results relative to the prior art.