Outdry Technologies Corp. v. Geox S.P.A., No. 16-1769 (Fed. Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Outdry’s 171 patent claims methods of waterproofing leather, particularly for the manufacture of shoes, clothes, or leather accessories. The specification discloses prior art methods of waterproofing leather shoes, including sewing a fabric lining and a semipermeable film to the interior surface of the leather or gluing a semi-permeable membrane inside the leather around the membrane’s perimeter, but states those methods allowed a water cushion to form in which water penetrates the leather and becomes trapped between the membrane and interior surface of the leather. The 171 patent sought to overcome this issue by “directly pressing” a semi-permeable membrane onto the leather via a dotted glue pattern. The Patent Board found that the claims would have been obvious over a combination of prior art. The Federal Circuit affirmed, upholding the Board’s construction of “directly pressing” and finding that a prior reference discloses “directly pressing” and “a process for waterproofing leather.” The Board’s fact finding regarding motivation to combine is supported by substantial evidence.