AGGREGATION

aggregation. Patents.

1. A set of parts that do not cooperate in structure or function, and are therefore unpatentable as an invention; the opposite of a combination. [Cases: Patents 25. C.J.S. Patents § 86.]

2. Hist. A patent examiner’s label for a claimed invention that may or may not be a patentable combination but whose claims do not clearly explain how the parts cooperate to produce a new or unexpected result. • As a term of art, aggregation lost its usefulness when it was replaced by a statutory test in § 103 of the Patent Act of 1952.

— Also termed juxtaposition. Cf. COMBINATION (4).

“I think of a football team as a combination; one passes, one receives, another runs, and still others hold the line. Eleven men are doing different things, each in his own way, and not always simultaneously; yet they are working to a common end, to advance the ball; and they coact as a unit. I think of a track team as an aggregation; one runs, another hurdles, another jumps, another throws. They all work for a common general end, to amass points for their alma mater; but there is lacking the vital spark of cooperation or coordination. They work, not as one unit, but as several.” Skinner v. Oil, 54 F.2d 896, 898–99 (10th Cir. 1931).

“The mere combining of old machine parts, each operating in the old way and accomplishing the old result, is an aggregation, and hence unpatentable; whereas, if a new result be produced by the joint action of the elements, and if such a result be not the mere adding together of the contributions of the separate elements, then there exists a patentable combination.” Roger Sherman Hoar, Patent Tactics and the Law 38 (3d ed. 1950).