Fed. Circ. Finds Patent For No-Pinch Conveyor Belt Obvious

By Bill Donahue (January 23, 2013, 7:23 PM EST) -- The Federal Circuit on Wednesday declared invalid a patent for conveyor belts that won't pinch workers' fingers, overruling a patent office appeal board that said the design was patentable.

The three-judge appeals panel sided with belt maker Rexnord Industries LLC and ruled that rival Habasit Belting Inc.'s patent for a safer conveyer belt, U.S. Patent No. 6,523,680, was rendered obvious by a combination of pre-existing designs.

The decision will put to rest a nearly decade-long fight between the two manufacturing firms over the no-pinch conveyer belts. Switzerland-based Habasit first sued Rexnord for infringing the design in 2003, which then prompted the...

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