Inventive Activity

T404 / 14: general knowledge

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Once it is not customary, the Chamber relies solely on the general knowledge of the person skilled in the art to conclude that there is no inventive step.
The Chamber begins by noting that the steps described in the application , in which a glass substrate is bonded to an oxidizable substrate by heating and applying an electric field, correspond to an anodic soldering process, although the application does not mention this term.

The Examining Division was part of an Article D7, which the Chamber finds to be less than optimal because it does not seek to link two substrates.

The Board prefers to assume that anodic solder is a well-known method for bonding monocrystalline silicon substrates to glass substrates, which emerges from 8 scientific papers . In addition, these same articles show that the glasses commonly used for this purpose are borosilicates or aluminosilicates. It is this combination of known features that the Board considers to be the starting point representing the closest state of the art.

D7 further shows that a number of features of the claim are implicitly and unavoidably obtained in an anodic welding process. To the plaintiff, who argued that D7 did not lead the skilled person to the invention, the Chamber retorts that D7 describes the physicochemical processes that occur during the anodic bonding and that will necessarily lead to the presence of the characteristics in question, that the skilled person has knowledge of D7 or not.

The Chamber ultimately concludes that the only distinguishing features are the thicknesses of the substrates (10 to 500 nm for the semiconductor and 0.1 to 10 mm for the glass), which can not involve an inventive step because these wide ranges are those normally used in microelectronics and do not provide any particular effect.