The evidence relied upon should establish “that the differences in results are in fact unexpected and unobvious and of both statistical and practical significance.” Ex parte Gelles, 22 USPQ2d 1318, 1319 (Bd. Pat. App. & Inter. 1992) (Mere conclusions in appellants’ brief that the claimed polymer had an unexpectedly increased impact strength “are not entitled to the weight of conclusions accompanying the evidence, either in the specification or in a declaration.”); Ex parte C, 27 USPQ2d 1492 (Bd. Pat. App. & Inter. 1992) (Applicant alleged unexpected results with regard to the claimed soybean plant, however there was no basis for judging the practical significance of data with regard to maturity date, flowering date, flower color, or height of the plant.). See also In re Nolan, 553 F.2d 1261, 1267, 193 USPQ 641, 645 (CCPA 1977) and In re Eli Lilly, 902 F.2d 943, 14 USPQ2d 1741 (Fed. Cir. 1990) as discussed in MPEP § 716.02(c).
II. APPLICANTS HAVE BURDEN OF EXPLAINING PROFFERED DATA
“[A]ppellants have the burden of explaining the data in any declaration they proffer as evidence of non-obviousness.” Ex parte Ishizaka, 24 USPQ2d 1621, 1624 (Bd. Pat. App. & Inter. 1992).
III. DIRECT AND INDIRECT COMPARATIVE TESTS ARE PROBATIVE OF NONOBVIOUSNESS
Evidence of unexpected properties may be in the form of a direct or indirect comparison of the claimed invention with the closest prior art which is commensurate in scope with the claims. See In re Boesch, 617 F.2d 272, 205 USPQ 215 (CCPA 1980) and MPEP § 716.02(d) – § 716.02(e). See In re Blondel, 499 F.2d 1311, 1317, 182 USPQ 294, 298 (CCPA 1974) and In re Fouche, 439 F.2d 1237, 1241-42, 169 USPQ 429, 433 (CCPA 1971) for examples of cases where indirect comparative testing was found sufficient to rebut a prima facie case of obviousness.
The patentability of an intermediate may be established by unexpected properties of an end product “when one of ordinary skill in the art would reasonably ascribe to a claimed intermediate the ‘contributing cause’ for such an unexpectedly superior activity or property.” In re Magerlein, 602 F.2d 366, 373, 202 USPQ 473, 479 (CCPA 1979). “In order to establish that the claimed intermediate is a ‘contributing cause’ of the unexpectedly superior activity or property of an end product, an applicant must identify the cause of the unexpectedly superior activity or property (compared to the prior art) in the end product and establish a nexus for that cause between the intermediate and the end product.” Id. at 479.