What is the person of ordinary skill in the art and why do I care?

The person of ordinary skill in the art (POOSA) is a hypothetical individual that demonstrates the level of knowledge within a particular field of invention at a certain point in time.  For example, if the field of invention is breast implants–is the person of ordinary skill in the art, a general surgeon that occassionally performs breast implants or a certified plastic surgeon with ten years of experience performing breast implants? (These are just two possibilities, but it could be a number of others). 

This person of ordinary skill in the art is then kept in mind when reading a claim to see if it meets the enablement and non-obviousness requirements.  Graham v. John Deere Co., 383 US 1 (1966) and Ruiz v. A.B. Chance Co., 234 F.3d 654 (Fed. Cir. 2000).  It is also relevant for a variety of related inquiries, such as claim interpretation and non-analogous art. 

Often, a patent’s value hinges on establishing the right level of skill at the right time for the POOSA.

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