Polaris Industries, Inc. v. Arctic Cat, Inc., No. 16-1807 (Fed. Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Polaris’s 405 Patent, titled “Side-by-Side ATV,” issued in December 2013, “relates to [all-terrain vehicles] having at least a pair of laterally spaced apart seating surfaces.” The patent expresses a desire that the ATVs have a low center of gravity. Arctic Cat successfully sought inter partes review. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board found that the claims were unpatentable as obvious (35 U.S.C. 103) over one combination of references. The Federal Circuit vacated with respect to certain claims, The Board failed to consider Polaris’s uncontested evidence that skilled artisans would not have been motivated to place a fuel tank under prior art’s seats and applied a legal analysis that runs contrary to the concept of teaching away. On remand, the Board must analyze whether prior art “teaches away” from claims 17–19 under the framework articulated in precedent. The Board must determine whether prior art merely expresses a general preference for maintaining very low seats or whether its teachings “criticize, discredit, or otherwise discourage” significantly raising the occupancy area of prior art’s ATV to add a fuel tank under one of the seats.