In re Conte, No. 2011–1331 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 15, 2011) (Judges Prost, Schall, and Moore) (nonprecedential) (per curiam)
The always competitive rubber band gun (RBG) industry is probably breathing a sigh of relief after this case, as is the National Rubber Band Gun Association. (OK, so as far as I can tell, that’s made up. There is, however, a Japan Rubber Band Gun Shooting Association. Unfortunately, the site is available in Japanese only.)
Anyway, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office rejected Conte’s application for the gun over a combination of a patent for a rubber band gun from 1929 and a patent for a rubber band gun from 1954. (Ah, the days of low-tech toys…)
Conte tried to argue that his gun was special because the rubber bands were knotted together to make one long rubber band, and the rubber band was attached at the end so it wouldn’t go flying off. Unfortunately for him, the White patent had knotted rubber bands, and the Watkins patent had a rubber band attached at the end. The Court found that Conte’s gun was an obvious combination of those two rubber band guns.
Conte lost. But, as a bonus for you, here is a video of what may be the world’s most powerful RBG:
If you like, you can read the court’s opinion.