Category: Patents


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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The High-Tech Patent Wars Continue…

Written by: Mark Terry The high-tech world is continuing its 20-way patent infringement war, but it’s not the usual suspects – it’s Yahoo vs. Facebook. Yahoo’s lawsuit claims that Facebook is infringing on Yahoo’s social networking patent (US7599935), which may be the basis of Facebook’s networking platform. As of late, the superstar high tech companies have been aggressively taking it to their competitors to protect their current revenue streams, but also, more importantly, to secure a dominant position in the future. Yahoo, which has been struggling over the last three years, recently lost ground to Facebook in the online advertising market. There is

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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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Propofol and the Economy

Written by Mark Terry  The unfortunate death of Michael Jackson and the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray has made a little-known drug, propofol (marketed as Diprivan by AstraZeneca), into a household name. What is fundamentally important about drugs like propofol may not only be what they’re used for but their impact on the economy. Propofol was originally developed in the UK by Imperial Chemical Industries (see U.S. Patent No. 4056635). Though clinical trials followed in 1977, due to negative reactions, the formulation was withdrawn from the market and subsequently reformulated as an emulsion of a soya oil/propofol mixture in water.

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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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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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The Most Effective Way of Reversing a 103 Obviousness Type Rejection – Florida Patent Lawyer Blog

Written by Mark Terry  Yesterday’s Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) decision in Ex Parte Peng highlighted the most effective way of reversing a Patent Examiner’s 103 obviousness type rejection – contesting the presence of one of the claim elements in the cited prior art. I, a Patent Lawyer practicing in the City of Miami, am always interested in reading about how other attorneys have gotten rejections reversed at the BPAI. The Ex Parte Peng case involved a method claim performed by a GPS receiver. The claim element at issue involved the storage of certain data in sample RAM, followed by a reallocation of

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A Hidden Structural Limitation in Apparatus Claims – Florida Patent Lawyer Blog

Written by Mark Terry  Today’s Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) decision of Ex parte Nakamura et al , which reversed a Patent Examiner’s 35 U.S.C. 103 obviousness rejection, was remarkable because it illustrated a method for reversing an obviousness rejection. As a Miami Patent Lawyer with a large patent docket, the Ex parte Nakamura was educational because it showed me where I might find a hidden structural limitation in an apparatus claim. Ex parte Nakamura involved a box-like positioning apparatus that included various moving parts. The claim element at issue stated that the amount or distance a particular moving member can be moved was limited

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