Category: Patent Prosecution


Board of Patent Appeals Reverses 103(a) Obviousness Rejection – Florida

Written by: Mark Terry The Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) recently handed down an influential decision when it reversed an obviousness-type rejection (Ex Parte McManamy, Appeal 2009-008781) entered by a patent examiner under 35 U.S.C. § 103(a). The 103(a)-obviousness rejection statute indicates that a patent may not be obtained if it would have been obvious to someone practicing ordinary skill in the “art” at the time of the invention. The wording of the statute clearly leaves room for subjective interpretation, and as a Miami-based Patent Attorney I constantly stay abreast of new holdings that can strengthen my clients’ positions in pursuing a

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The 35 USC 112, First Paragraph, Rejection – Florida Patent Lawyer Blog

Written by: Mark Terry The Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) decision of Ex parte Yufa affirmed a Patent Examiner’s 35 U.S.C. 112, 1st paragraph, rejection. This was an interesting case for me, a Miami Patent Attorney, because it illustrated a type of rejection I don’t deal with much. The case of Ex parte Yufa involved an apparatus for detecting particles using beams of light. At issue was a claim element that did not appear to be present in the original specification. The Board found the disputed claim element did not have support in the initial disclosure and therefore the 35 U.S.C. 112, 1st

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Software Patents: How to Lose an Obviousness Argument

Written by: Mark Terry In a straightforward decision today, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) affirmed an Examiner’s obviousness rejection of a software invention based on a common prosecution mistake – the Appellant arguing limitations that are not in the claim. This post highlights a basic requirement of responding to Examiner rejections, especially when procuring software patents. The case of Ex parte Kreiner (Appeal No. 2010-004976) involved a software invention used to design circuits. The disputed claim included the following limitation: “a software-based development environment for designing circuits or systems.” In responding to a 103 obviousness rejection, the Appellant argued that

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Board of Patent Appeals: The Problem with Using Functional Language in Claims – Florida Patent Lawyer Blog

Written by: Mark Terry Yesterday’s Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) decision in Ex Parte Zurcher highlighted the problems associated with using functional language in claims, especially when claiming an apparatus. I, a Patent Lawyer in Miami, have written about this before in my article about intended use claim language. The Ex Parte Zurcher case involved an electrical-type socket invention. The claim element at issue included functional language. The Examiner asserted a prior art reference that included structure that performed the same function as described in Appellant’s functional language. I.e., the Examiner found the claimed functional language inherent in the prior art reference. The ensuing arguments can be separated

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Quick Post: Board Finds Appellant Must Argue That Examiner Erred

Written by Mark Terry                In one of the more interesting decisions on this Friday, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) affirmed an Examiner’s rejection based on the Appellant forgetting to argue that the Examiner erred. This Quick Post highlights the basics of responding to Examiner rejections. Recall that “the Patent Office has the initial duty of supplying the factual basis for its rejection. It may not . . . resort to speculation, unfounded assumptions or hindsight reconstruction to supply deficiencies in its factual basis.” In re Warner, 379 F.2d 1011, 1017 (CCPA 1967). The allocation of burdens requires that the USPTO

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Board of Patent Appeals Reverses Examiner’s Inherency Finding

Written by Mark Terry  In its first decision on this Friday the 13th, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI), reversed an Examiner’s 103 obviousness rejection based on the Examiner’s faulty inherency logic. I like this reversal because it highlights the Examiner’s burden and the consequences of not meeting that burden – i.e., a win for the Applicant. With regard to inherency, recall M.P.E.P. 2112 states that where an Applicant claims a composition in terms of a function, property or characteristic and the composition of the prior art is the same as that of the claim but the function is not explicitly disclosed

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Board of Patent Appeals Decides Broadest Reasonable Interpretation of Term “On”

Written by Mark Terry  In a decision today at the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI), the Board reversed an Examiner’s 103 obviousness rejection based on the unreasonableness of the Examiner’s interpretation of the word “on.” The case of Ex parte Goruganthu (Appeal No. 2010-005235) involved a method of making lenses. The claims involved methods for forming solid immersion lenses on a resist film. One of the central issues was the meaning of the claim term “on.” What does the term “on” mean? The Board began by first contruing the claim term:             We begin by noting that while the term “on” is

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How to Attack Non-Enabling Prior Art References

Written by Mark Terry     As a full time patent prosecution attorney, I review 35 U.S.C. § 102 and 35 U.S.C. § 103 rejections on a daily basis. It is quite common in certain arts, such as the medical device arts, that the Office Action will cite non-patent literature as a prior art reference. Often, this non-patent literature is found by doing a keyword search using a web search mechanism, such as Google. The problem with non-patent literature found in this manner is that it is not always enabled. In fact, I have found that a good portion of the

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Board of Patent Appeals Rejects Dow Chemical’s Patent Application – Florida Patent Lawyer Blog

Written by Mark Terry  As a Florida Patent Attorney with a sizable patent prosecution docket, I frequently deal with rejections from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A common form of rejection is an anticipation rejection under 35 U.S.C. sec. 102. This type of rejection is used in cases where the Patent Examiner believes that a single prior art reference (usually an existing U.S. Patent) anticipates or discloses every element of your patent claim. How do you respond to these types of rejections and succeed? The answer to this question is illustrated in today’s decision by the Board of

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The Board of Patent Appeals Weighs In On Product-By-Process Claims

Written by Mark Terry  Today, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) affirmed a Patent Examiner’s 35 U.S.C. 103 obviousness rejection of a commonly used “product-by-process” claim, supporting my theory that product-by-process claims are useless. As a Miami Patent Lawyer, I found the Ex parte Lockemeyer decision interesting because it confirmed my own abandonment of product-by-process claims in the course of patent prosecution. Ex parte Lockemeyer involved a product-by-process claim of a chemical composition made using a new process. The Examiner issued a 35 U.S.C. 103 obviousness rejection of the product-by-process claim based on a prior art reference that disclosed the chemical composition, but did

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