How a defensive graduate assistant position in 1987 launched Mike McCarthy’s coaching career – The Athletic

“You really need to interview this guy.”

Duane Dirk, the defensive coordinator at Fort Hays State in 1987, remembers those words on a phone call from the late Charlie Richard, a College Football Hall of Fame coach who was at the helm of Baker University. Richard was talking about Mike McCarthy, a kid who played tight end for him and aspired to explore the coaching realm.

Dirk was in his first year as the defensive coordinator on John Vincent’s staff at Fort Hays and was looking for a graduate assistant. In those days, once a small school like Fort Hays State had an opening for a GA, they would let it be known in the wider college football coaching circuit and then field recommendations.

This call was different than the others, though. Richard wasn’t just another coach throwing out just another name; Dirk and Richard had been friends for years, and Richard insisted that McCarthy was a football mind Dirk would not want to miss out on. So McCarthy came…

Year of the Rat by Holiday Mathis – Boston Herald

[email protected] (Holiday Mathis)

The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, in which the start of each month are marked according to the moon. Though China also uses the Gregorian calendar, most holidays are calculated by the lunisolar way of time tracking, and many celebrate their birthdays by this calendar as well. Happy 4718, the year of the Metal Rat.

ARIES (March 21-April 19). You’ll be struck by the number of people around you who you genuinely admire, a few in your actual circle, many in the cultural community and a few who happen to be versions of yourself.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20). Each person travels in a cloud of their own convictions. You’ll know right away which personal atmospheres will mix well with yours and which will be intolerable (in which case this is no day to argue, just leave).

GEMINI (May 21-June 21). According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, the higher ones only become an issue after the lower ones have been fulfilled. In a way, you’re grateful for your complex problems. It’s a sign that your basics are solid.

CANCER (June 22-July 22). Dopamine is to the brain what cupcakes are to the world of carbohydrates. In both cases, little goes a long way. Too much pleasure, anticipation and wanting is unhealthy, addictive even.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22). It seems there are dozens of reasons why you shouldn’t do a thing and only one reason you should. When the one reason is important enough — as in love, ethics, family, country — opposition is inconsequential.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22). Enlightenment is a terrible goal, as it cannot be achieved or even discovered. Instead, it’s a state in which it is found that there is nothing to find. Your peace will come inside the moments you inhabit. No striving.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23). People who ask for your opinion are really just trying to figure out who you are, where you stand and what you might possibly do for them. They want to know, like and trust you more than they want your inner thought process.

SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 21). The philosopher Seneca believed that to laugh in the face of fear or stay calm in tumult could only be the result of “a beam of divinity that influences a mortal body.” Maybe. Or maybe you’re there because you did the work.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21). Yes, you are the prophet of your own story, generating numerous predictions per hour and seeing many of them come true. Wisdom comes of you being willing, and even excited, to be proven wrong.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19). You’re already in a constant collaboration with yourself. Mix in a few more opinions from the peanut gallery and it all becomes a little much. It will be more peaceful and more fun if you go this one solo.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18). Get creative on paper. How much brainstorming do you need to do to get to a real solution for your problem? As much as it takes. You’ll know it when you see it.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20). You’re not sure what’s on the other side of your fear, but you can certain that whatever its qualities, you will experience them in retrospect as the sublime reward for courage in motion.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY (Jan. 25). This year rolls in on a float of flowers and waving well-wishers throwing candy. Ah, the spectacle! But work prevents you from staying too long at the parade. The months ahead let you expand into the joy and liberation that have for too long been an unclaimed destiny. This is yours. Clasp it and bring it in. Sagittarius and Virgo adore you. Your lucky numbers are: 27, 2, 18, 33 and 6.

THE YEAR OF THE RAT: This Lunar New Year arrives at the intersection of taxonomy and mythology with a pressing question: What is good about a rat?

Historically, millions of humans have been killed by rat-borne diseases such as the plague and salmonellosis. However, many have also been saved by the studies done on rats, whose behaviors, for scientific intents and purposes, often mimic that of humans. Rats are loyal and exhibit empathetic behaviors including making selfless choices, exhibiting affection, mourning their dead and even laughing. It also bears mention that rats are extremely high on the animal intelligence scale.

In a mythological context, the rat represents a year in which intelligence reigns, cleverness wins, and people can turn misfortune into felicity through empathy, morality and proper attention to priorities. This is also an omen for prosperity as rats were respected symbols of opulence and fertility. (An average female rat can produce six times a year with four to eight pups a litter.)

As for the metal element of this year, it’s a harbinger of hope for industry, especially transportation and tech. May our better angels guide us toward responsible and sustainable solutions in this regard. Happy New Year!

CELEBRITY PROFILES: The intellectual energy of Aquarius encompasses intellectual developments including mathematics, the language of science, the cosmos and also the language of music. Hit-maker Alicia Keys has natal sun, Mercury and Mars all in Aquarius. Keys also leans into the philanthropy of her sign as co-founder of Keep a Child Alive, a foundation that provides medicine to African families.

Write Holiday Mathis at


Last Updated: Thursday, Dec 26, 2019 13:55:35 -0800

PTAB Stance on Motivation Evidence For Obviousness – The National Law Review

Monday, February 3, 2020

Two PTAB decisions recently designated as informative show that failure to provide detailed evidence of motivation to combine references for an obviousness challenge, can sink a Petition before or after institution of trial.  In Johns Manville Corp. v. Knauf Insulation, Inc. (IPR2018-00827, Paper 9), the PTAB denied institution of an IPR for lack of reasons to substitute compositions in one reference with those of another.  In Hulu, LLC v. Sound View Innovations, LLC (IPR2018-00582, Paper 34), the PTAB reached a final decision that the claims of a telecommunications patent were not obvious where Petitioner’s motivation to combine rationale was undermined by contrary evidence.  These decisions illustrate the demanding level of proof required of Petitioners to articulate the why and the how a person of ordinary skill in the art (POSA) would combine or modify the teachings of the references to arrive at the claimed invention. 

In the first case, Johns Manville petitioned for review of numerous claims of Knauf’s U.S. Patent No. 9,828,287 (“the ’287 patent”), asserting unpatentability for obviousness based on several combinations of four prior art references.  The ’287 patent is directed to “a thermal or acoustical fiberglass insulation material [that comprises] a collection of glass fibers and . . . binder[s] with various characteristics.”  A key feature of the binders is that they included a reaction product between “a reducing sugar reactant and an amine reactant.” Johns Manville, Paper 9 at 3-4.  Patent Owner, Knauf, successfully argued that Petitioner “picks and chooses binder components without explanation,” and did not provide a valid rationale for combining references.  Id. at 9.

In agreeing that the proposed obviousness grounds failed to adequately show a motivation to combine or modify the references, the Board focused primarily on Petitioner’s first ground based on the Srinivasan and Worthington references.The PTAB described Srinivasan as disclosing an aqueous binder composition for making glass fiber products, such as fiberglass insulation.  Id. at 6.  Its binder is not the same as the claimed product of a reducing sugar and amine.  Petitioner relied on Worthington for teaching the claimed binder which is disclosed as useful for “the making of shell molds or cores and for other purposes.”  Id. at 7.  Petitioner argued that a POSA would have substituted Worthington’s binder for Srinivasan’s because Worthington is analogous art and both references disclose thermosetting binder compositions with overlapping constituents. Id. at 10.  Relying on Securus Techs.2 and Personal Web Techs.,3the PTAB held that neither “mere compatibility of the references” nor a showing “that the prior art references [were] analogous art or in the same field of endeavor as the challenged patent” were sufficient “to establish that the skilled artisan would have had reason to combine the teachings of the prior art as claimed in the challenged patent.” Id.

The Board found Petitioner’s other alleged motivations to combine similarly defective.  Worthington’s statement that its thermosetting compositions may be used for “other purposes for which thermosetting compositions are used” was found insufficient to support Petitioner’s assertion that the challenged claims represent the predictable use of prior art elements according to their established functions. Id. at 11.  Noting that the “cited references teach considerably different binding systems,” the Board faulted Petitioner for failing to explain a specific reason to substitute Worthington’s binder for Srinivasan’s other than the unsupported assumption that all thermoset binders are useful in the Srinivasan’s type of fiberglass insulation product.  Id.  More generally, the Board wanted to see evidence concerning “which of the prior art elements allegedly has a known function, what that function is, and why that function is allegedly predictable.  Id. at 12.  As a corollary, the Board found that in view of the extensive modifications proposed, Petitioner also failed to adequately support existence of a reasonable expectation of success in making the modifications. Id. at 13.

The PTAB’s ruling in Hulu, LLC v. Sound View Innovations, LLC shows that even where an IPR trial is instituted, detailed consideration of the facts may ultimately demonstrate a lack of motivation to combine.  In Hulu, Petitioner challenged claims of US Patent No. 6,502,133, which relate to an apparatus and method for processing real-time events in, e.g., a telecommunications system.  The ’133 patent discloses that conventional database management systems are often too slow to meet real-time performance requirements relating to “switching services” in telecommunication systems. The ’133 Patent at 1:25-42.  At the time of the invention, custom databases were effective, but expensive and inflexible solutions to such problems.  Id. at 1:43-56. The ’133 patent claims include a real-time analysis engine associated with a main-memory database where recovery information is stored. The Board instituted trial on two grounds of obviousness, but noted that one ground was flawed from the start.4  Here, we focus on the second ground, the combination of O’Neil, Kao and De Witt, which was the primary basis for institution.  Hulu, Paper 9 at 2.

O’Neil discloses a telecommunications system for providing prepaid and credit limited cell phone service and includes a real-time telephone call monitoring, rating, and response system.  This system includes at least two databases, but does not disclose whether those are in main memory.  Petitioner therefore relied on Kao for teaching that in real-time database systems, main memory databases provide fast and predictable access times.  Id. at 14.  Kao also noted that telephone switching is an application with “stringent timing requirements” for which a real-time database would be useful.  Petitioner contended that a POSA would have been motivated “‘to use Kao’s main-memory database in O’Neil’s real-time telephone call monitoring system . . . because (i) it was known that telephone routing and billing systems required tight timing requirements, and (ii) it was known that main memory databases are particularly suitable for these types of systems.’” Id.  De Witt, which is cited by Kao, was relied on for details concerning storing recovering information on memory. Id.

Patent Owner, Sound View Innovations, was able to rebut this specific and seemingly credible motivation to combine, by adducing evidence that undermined the alleged “stringent timing requirements” of O’Neil’s databases.  First, Patent Owner pointed to evidence that O’Neil’s system obtains information from its databases during a call within a few seconds rather than milliseconds.  Petitioner’s expert was then forced to admit that “once a second” updates from O’Neil’s databases were acceptable in O’Neil’s telecommunications system.  Id. at 16-17. Second, Patent Owner’s expert provided uncontested testimony that the “vast majority of database systems” at the time of the ’133 patent were disk-based systems and that these were fast enough to meet O’Neil’s requirements. Id. at 17-18. Third, Patent Owner also put forth evidence that using a main memory database for O’Neil’s databases would not have had any impact on O’Neil’s call routing speeds because call routing was complete before the system requires information from the databases. Id. at 18.  Finally, the Board also found that main memory disadvantages of high cost, low capacity and volatility would have weighed against a POSA combining O’Neil and Kao/De Witt.5Id. at 19-20. 

In summary, the Johns Manville and Hulu decisions provide a cautionary tale to Petitioners to thoroughly vet the motivation to combine evidence and arguments supporting an obviousness challenge in an IPR Petition.  These decisions are also a cogent reminder to Patent Owners that even if all elements of the claims are met by combined references, a detailed attack on the factual bases for the alleged motivation to combine is a worthwhile strategy to defeat an obviousness challenge.

1 One or both of Srinivasan and Worthington appear in the other three proposed obviousness grounds and the Board found that those grounds failed for similar reasons as ground 1. Id. at 14.

2  Securus Techs., Inc. v. Global Tel*Link Corp., 701 F. App’x 971, 977 (Fed. Cir. 2017).

3  Personal Web Techs., LLC v. Apple, Inc., 848 F.3d 987, 993 (Fed. Cir. 2017).

4 In the Institution Decision and in the Final Written Decision, the Board indicated that the first ground of obviousness failed to teach or suggest at least one of the claimed elements.  

5 Other motivation arguments raised by Petitioner in its Reply were deemed either unsupported or untimely.  Id. at 21