In KSR, the Court seemed to encourage the broader use of the “logic, judgment, and common sense available to the person of ordinary skill that do not necessarily require explication in any reference” to resolve the obviousness question. 587 F.3d at 1324. In my opinion, this unleashed Examiners to reject claims as obvious if all or part of the invention “would have been no more than the predictable use of prior art elements according to their established functions.” (Another regular and maddening rejection is that the invention or part of it would be well within the ordinary skill of the art. Even the MPEP rejects this boilerplate as a ground for rejection. See Ex parte Levengood.)
The Board in a reexamination of a hearing aid patent obtained by Hear-Ware found the claims unobvious because HIMPP had not provided evidence that an element in two dependent claims (which seems to be just a plug in connector) were known ‘prior art’ elements.