of known components of telephone systems in an admittedly new way to achieve a new total system. Neither the district court in its opinion, nor the defendants, identified any suggestion in the prior art that the components be combined as they were by Feil or that such combination could achieve the advantages of the Feil system.
Not only must the claimed invention as a whole be evaluated, but so also must the references as a whole, so that their teachings are applied in the context of their significance to a technician at the time– – a technician without our knowledge of the solution. The defendants propounded and the district court appears to have followed an analytical method that well illustrates the "mosaic" analogy discussed in W.L. Gore & Assocs., where this court said:
[T]he claims were used as a frame, and individual, naked parts of separate prior art references were employed as a mosaic to recreate a facsimile of the claimed invention.
Defendants refer to the decision of the Supreme Court in Sakraida v. Ag Pro, Inc.. As the Court there held, Sakraida's combination of old elements to wash barn floors with flowing water did not produce a new or different function, and affirmed the district court's holding that " 'all of the elements of [the combination] are old ... and the combination of them ... being neither new nor meeting the test of non– obviousness.' " In the Feil invention the combination was admittedly new, and it produced a new system having theretofore unavailable attributes.
Recognizing the difficulty of casting one's mind back to the state of technology at the time the invention was made, courts have long recognized the usefulness of evidence of the contemporaneous attitude toward the asserted invention. A retrospective view of the invention is best gleaned from those who were there at the time….
Although the district court remarked in its 1982 decision that evidence of commercial success "cannot be afforded any weight" "in light of my finding of obviousness,” such evidence when present must be considered and afforded appropriate weight….
The requirement that "secondary considerations" be considered in determinations under section 103 aids in evaluating the state of the art at the time the invention was made. It is not pertinent that the invention was easily understood after it was made– – a factor that appears to have been considered significant by the district court– – but whether it would have been obvious to make the invention at the time. Giving due weight to the market success and contemporaneous reaction to the Feil trader turret system, the record does not contain clear and convincing evidence that the Feil invention of the reissue claims would have been obvious to one of ordinary skill in this art at the time the invention was made. 69
774 F.2d at 1134-1144. (citations omitted)