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Is patent application US20120260509 A1 obvious given prior art patent US5560106 A? They both seem to be trying to accomplish the same thing and given that the prior art was from the early 90's I would think the current patent application would be obvious.

US20120260509 A1 claims the following:

  • a. a grip portion** and a connection portion, said connection portion rotating with respect to said grip portion about a rotational axis, said connection portion comprising a docking portion suitable for receiving an optional blade unit, said docking portion being positioned opposite distally away from said grip portion,
  • b. wherein the grip portion and the connection portion are rotatably connected by a connection member, and
  • i. wherein said handle comprises a static stiffness in a range of about 1.25 N*mm/degree to about 1.45 N*mm/deg, as determined by the Static Stiffness Method defined herein.

US5560106 A claims the following:

A non-motor driven razor comprising a handle by which the razor can be gripped, handled and manipulated when shaving hair from an anatomical skin surface, a razor head having a razor blade mounted thereon for movement of the head and blade solely in a transverse edgewise direction of the blade along the anatomical skin surface in transverse perpendicular relation to hair shafts projecting from the anatomical skin surface, and a resilient connection between the razor head and handle, said resilient connection enabling resilient movement of the razor head in relation to the handle in all directions with resilient resistance to such movement occurring in all directions.

It looks like the difference is that the old patent used a flexible connection similar to accordion and the new application uses a joint-like connection that has multiple distinct positions that require some force to switch between them.

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Zac, What you are asking for on Ask Patents is called a prior art request. We have discovered that more detailed information in a standard format helps our community to answer these questions and helps US patent examiners to use the prior art which is found on Ask Patents. Please consider rewriting your prior art request for US20120260509 in the format listed here: Post Prior Art Requests on Ask Patents –  Micah Siegel Sep 3 '13 at 22:18
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This question is missing information necessary to easily research this patent application. Please add missing information to this prior art request, including: a patent number, at least one independent claim, a priority date (the date before which the prior art is needed) and a plain English description of the independent claim. See the prior art request template for more information and an example.

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I haven't studied the documents but I do see the new application has very specific claims with ranges of numerical values called out. Much more specific than many claims.

Accomplishing the same thing is not the key to prior art. Many distinct inventions try to solve the same problem but in a different enough way. Roughly speaking, to show something isn't new the prior art needs to "teach" what the claims of the newer document are claiming.

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