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In an inter partes reexamination involving a patent on paper shredders, the examiner found the claimed shredder to have been obvious.  The shredder included two sensors, a sensor to sense that paper has been inserted and a sensor to sense the thickness of the inserted paper.  Only if paper of an adequate thickness has been inserted will the shredder turn on and shred.  The PTAB reversed, finding the combination patent claims not obvious even though both of the sensors were known in the art.  The Federal Circuit reversed the PTAB’s finding, holding that the it would have been obvious to add the paper sensor to the disclosed shredder having a thickness sensor, because the shredder needed a means for being turned on.  

ACCO Brands Corporation v. Fellowes, Inc., Case No. 2014-1045 (February 22, 2016); Opinion by: Chen, joined by Newman and Hughes; Appealed From: United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board.  Read the full opinion here

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