716.03(a) Commercial Success Commensurate in Scope With Claimed Invention [R-07.2022]
I. EVIDENCE OF COMMERCIAL SUCCESS MUST BE COMMENSURATE IN SCOPE WITH THE CLAIMS
Objective evidence of nonobviousness including commercial success must be commensurate in scope with the claims. In re Tiffin, 448 F.2d 791, 171 USPQ 294 (CCPA 1971) (evidence showing commercial success of thermoplastic foam "cups" used in vending machines was not commensurate in scope with claims directed to thermoplastic foam "containers" broadly). In order to be commensurate in scope with the claims, the commercial success must be due to claimed features, and not due to unclaimed features. Joy Technologies Inc. v. Manbeck, 751 F. Supp. 225, 229, 17 USPQ2d 1257, 1260 (D.D.C. 1990), aff’d, 959 F.2d 226, 228, 22 USPQ2d 1153, 1156 (Fed. Cir. 1992) (Features responsible for commercial success were recited only in allowed dependent claims, and therefore the evidence of commercial success was not commensurate in scope with the broad claims at issue.). See also MPEP §§ 716.01(b) and 2145 for more guidance on determining if the nexus requirement is met.
An affidavit or declaration attributing commercial success to a product or process "constructed according to the disclosure and claims of [the] patent application" or other equivalent language does not establish a nexus between the claimed invention and the commercial success because there is no evidence that the product or process which has been sold corresponds to the claimed invention, or that whatever commercial success may have occurred is attributable to the product or process defined by the claims. Ex parte Standish, 10 USPQ2d 1454, 1458 (Bd. Pat. App. & Inter. 1988).
II. REQUIREMENTS WHEN CLAIMED INVENTION IS NOT COEXTENSIVE WITH COMMERCIAL PRODUCT OR PROCESS
If a particular range is claimed, applicant does not need to show commercial success at every point in the range. "Where, as here, the claims are directed to a combination of ranges and procedures not shown by the prior art, and where substantial commercial success is achieved at an apparently typical point within those ranges, and the affidavits definitely indicate that operation throughout the claimed ranges approximates that at the particular points involved in the commercial operation, we think the evidence as to commercial success is persuasive." In re Hollingsworth, 253 F.2d 238, 240, 117 USPQ 182, 184 (CCPA 1958). See also Demaco Corp. v. F. Von Langsdorff Licensing Ltd., 851 F.2d 1387, 7 USPQ2d 1222 (Fed. Cir. 1988) (where the commercially successful product or process is not coextensive with the claimed invention, applicant must show a legally sufficient relationship between the claimed feature and the commercial product or process).