All cybercolleagues: Well, we may be pulling in several different - but perhaps related - directions in this thread. Mea culpa if I contributed to confusing things. My comment re: oil dispenser vs. popcorn dispenser was only to show the length an Examiner may/can go to find 102 art. Per others, I agree the NAA argument has no place in a 102 debate. To do otherwise would essentially countenance use (or field of use) claims. Preamble be damned, we don’t do that in the US. BUT what is available under 102 is, subject to some temporal and co-ownership limitations, available under 103. No? So by my reasoning, the oil dispenser - were it not anticipating - might well have properly been used in a 103 rejection. At the risk of confusing things even more, I’ll borrow a term form copyright law - “level of abstraction”. Bird feeder? Or taking the eagle’s view, just a measuring-mixing container with adjustable measuring chambers? (That was a bad pun).
Analogous art is a “threshold”. All the discussion of KSR supra is well and good, but we don’t get to conduct our obviousness analysis until we decide what the “ prior art” is. After, and only after, that is decided, do we go to Graham, leaving Klein et al. behind. As others posted, read the NAA standard in NAA cases, not motivation and the like from obviousness cases. Per my previous post, I think we have to be careful with words. Field of the invention, field of the endeavor, field of use, and so forth. Maybe they are just tautologies thanks to some judge’s need for a rhetorical flourish, or maybe they indeed belong to different analytical frameworks.
My opinion. As much pain as it causes me as an advocate prosecuting applications, an expansive view of AA, like “broadest reasonable construction of the claims” serves a legitimate policy objective - minimize improvidently granted patents. Putting on my opinion drafter’s hat, there are already enough of them. But NAA lives and I'll continue to take a shot at it.