Our competition has patented a very simple device. Its prior art was a coffee spoon with a hook on the end, to hang it over the edge of a cup. The invention modified the spoon a bit (shape is bent, bottom part is made rectangular, measuring scale is added on bottom). The device is used to scoop out a specific supplement and hang it over a cup, to make the supplement dissolve.
Their patent includes an independent claim (regarding the device itself), and several dependent claims (one of which lists the method for scooping the supplement).
Can we make and use a very similar device, for the same result (without patenting it)? Can we claim that: their invention is obvious & non-novel? A spoon with a hook has been invented before. A ruler has been invented before. A bent spoon has been invented too. However all these weren't combined before, and they weren't used for this specific supplement before.
Here is the US9903747 link from google patents: