Digest of In re Ontjes No. 2014-1157 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 25, 2014) (non-precedential). On appeal from the PTAB. Before Dyk, Taranto, and Chen (per curiam).

Procedural Posture: Patent applicants appealed PTAB’s decision affirming the examiner’s rejection of patent claims as obvious over the prior art. CAFC affirmed.

  • Obviousness: The PTAB did not err in its obviousness analysis in considering four prior art references that it determined to be analogous art. According to the patent application, the invention was meant to solve the problem of “unattractive and innocuous propane tanks” by “decorat[ing them] in a manner consistent with a tailgate party scheme,” by giving the “appearance or likeness of a sports-related item.” In determining that the PTAB did not err in finding the prior art to be analogous art, the CAFC reasoned that although the prior art is not specifically directed to propane tanks, each of the references describes either a container or a sports-themed object related to containers, and is therefore “reasonably pertinent” to the problem addressed by the claims at issue.