Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

ing to what is included in the oxygen-containing stream. The patent disclosure very specifically states that

The amount of oxygen used will, in the first instance, depend upon the stoi. chiometry of the reaction. For practical results, at least a stoichiometric amount should be used based upon the salt to be oxidized. It is normally desirable to have an excess of oxygen available for reaction. This excess can, without practical inconvenience, be as high as 100% by volume, or even higher. More usually a 15–50% by volume excess of oxygen is employed with good results. The application, on the other hand, contains the following recitation:

It is a particular feature of this invention that air is used to supply a part or all of the oxygen for oxidation of the metal or metalloid salts. It has been found that the control of particle size of the oxide can be achieved and maintained during the reaction by adjusting the amount of oxygen available. This is prefer. ably done by use of air in place of pure oxygen. Decreased amounts of oxygen admixed with nitrogen can also be used. It is also possible to employ part of the off-gas from the reaction.

The amount of oxygen used will, in the first instance, be dependent upon the stoichiometry of the reaction. For practical results, at least a stoichiometric amount of oxygen should be present as based upon the salt being oxidized. It has in the past, been thought desirable to have an excess of oxygen available during the reaction. Excesses of 5 to 100% by volume have been recommended in the past. Using air, or other diluted oxygen mixtures, only the amount of air or such mixture required to give the stoichiometric amount of oxygen need be used. At most, an excess of 5% by volume of oxygen in the mixture is desirable to attain the benefits of the present invention. It is highly desirable to employ the dilution effect of the inert fluid, i.e. nitrogen, either pure, or as found in air, instead of, as in the past, using excess oxygen. It is also possible to use other inert gases such as recycled off-gas recovered from the reaction zone and freed of oxide product. Claim 1 of the patent (the broadest) follows:

1. In the process of continuously preparing finely divided refractory oxides by contacting an oxygen-containing stream with at least one stream of at least one member selected from the group consisting of vaporous metal and metalloid salts, the improvement which comprises admixing at least one of said reactant streams with a stream of gaseous fluid heated by means of a plasma generator to a temperature in the range of 3,000°-12,000° C., contacting said reactant streams flowing at an angle with respect to each other of between about 50° and 160°, passing the resulting mixture of reactants to a reaction zone for a period of about .001 to 1 second, and then collecting the resultant oxide product. Patent claim 6 is narrower in most respects than claim 1 and, in particular, recites that the oxygen-containing stream contains "at least a stoichiometric amount of oxygen.”

Basic claim 9 on appeal defines what appellant regards as his invention thusly:

9. In the process of continuously preparing finely divided refractory oxides from reactant oxygen and at least one reactant selected from the group consisting of vaporous salts of silicon, titanium, aluminum, zirconium, iron and antimony,

[ocr errors]

wherein at least one of the reactant materials is admixed with a stream of gaseous fluid heated by means of a plasma generator to a temperature in the range of 3,000°-12,000° C., and the reactants are combined and passed into a reaction zone for a period of about 0.001 to 1.0 second to give the oxide product; the improvement which comprises using an oxygen-containing reactant stream consisting essentially of (a) 100_105% of the stoichiometric amount of oxygen based on the vaporous salt and (b) about 10–150%, based on oxygen, of a gaseous diluent which is inert under reaction conditions.

It is asserted in behalf of the Patent Office that the invention claimed in the instant application must be considered the same invention as that claimed in the patent when full consideration is given to what the language in the patent claims actually means. The expression “at least a stoichiometric amount of oxygen” of the patent claims, when read in light of the patent disclosure, quoted above, it is argued, “[I]mplies the minimum and obviously comprehends a slight increase of oxygen over 100%, for example up to 105%.” As to the second language difference, i.e., that the oxygen-containing reactant stream also consist of

(b) about 10–150% based on oxygen, of a gaseous diluent which is inert under reaction conditions, it is argued that the recited claim language adds nothing to the process in the patent. It is pointed out, for example, that in patent claim 6, the plasma stream, which is an inert gaseous diluent, is mixed with the oxygen containing stream prior to reaction and that the quantity of inert fluid in the total mixture is about 3% to 95% by volume, which "is clearly within the range of that called for by the [appealed] claims.” It is strongly urged that no matter what appellant has stated in his specification or argued in his briefs to the effect that the invention of the claims on appeal "adds a step to the patented process; namely the introduction of an inert gas into the oxygen-containing reactant stream,” the language of the patent claims and the claims on appeal does not bring this difference out.

[2] We have some sympathy with the arguments of the Patent Office regarding the language of the claims. At times it does become difficult to distinguish between the inert gaseous fluid which becomes the plasma, the inert gaseous fluid which serves as a diluent, and whatever else is in the “oxygen-containing stream” recited in both the patent and application claims. Nevertheless our decision does not require an interpretation of all the language in the claims. It is readily apparent that the appealed claims are very narrow in the recitation of the amount of oxygen employed. The patent claims, on the other hand, recite no upper limit on the amount of oxygen used, and we are not about to imply one. Thus the claims, at least in this regard, define admittedly overlapping, but different subject matter. This is enough, under the law as it now stands, to warrant giving effect to a terminal disclaimer. The rejection on double patenting grounds has, in view of the disclaimer, been obviated and is, therefore, reversed.

The Section 112 Rejection

The board sustained this rejection “for the reasons stated in the Examiner's Answer.” Considering the examiner's position, it appears that he was concerned with the fact that there was no specific recitation in the rejected claims of the angle at which the two reactant-containing streams are to be combined before being passed into the reaction zone. We quote his reasoning:

Claims 9, 10, and 12-16 inclusive are deemed unduly broad, 35 USC 112, since these claims are readable on a minute angle, such as 1o, 2o, etc. or a large angle of 180° and it is clear from the specification page 6, for example, that the actual range employed to prevent plugging, undesirable size classification, etc. is within the range of about 50°-160°. * * The Y type of reactor “of co-pending application Serial No. 430,262, filed February 4, 1965” aforementioned is employed by the appellant in this case. It is to be noted that in all of the claims in said case that the angle is (between] about 50° and 160° or of more limited range. Such limitations in the claims of said co-pending case were made by amendment after extended prosecution therein and as the apparent result of a similar holding by the Examiner of undue breadth of the claims in said co-pending application.

We have considered the examiner's rejection in the light which the arguments of the parties have placed it, but find ourselves unable to agree that the limitation which the examiner would have appellant recite in his claims is necessary.

Initially we point out that the absence of such limitation does not make the claims indefinite. Furthermore, as is evident from the “Jepson” style of the claims, the manner in which the reactants must be combined has not been relied on to distinguish over the prior art. Nor has appellant, either by statements made in his disclosure or by his attorney during the course of prosecution, indicated that the claims define anything more than he regards as his invention. Cf. In re Borkowski, 57 CCPA 946, 422 F. 2d 904, 164 USPQ 642 (1970); In re Prater, 56 CCPA 1381, 415 F. 2d 1393, 162 USPQ 541 (1969).

[3] Finally, we emphasize that the disputed limitation deals only with a physical operating condition of an admittedly old process. We see no more reason for requiring that appellant recite the specific angles at which the reactants in his process are to be combined than we do for requiring the recitation of flow rates or size of reactor or any other physical operating condition which might be required in order to obtain an operable process. Those limitations deal with factors which must be presumed to be within the level of ordinary skill in the

art. We hold that claims need not recite such factors where one of ordinary skill in the art, to whom the specification and claims are directed, would consider them obvious.

The decision of the board is reversed.

427 F. 2d 786; 166 USPQ 138

IN RE JOHN NICHOLSON GARDNER, ANTHONY MAITLAND ROE AND GEORGE LAWRENCE WILLEY (No. 8311)

PATENTS

1. CLAIMS INDEFINITE-CHEMICAL

Claims to method of producing antidepressant activity which comprises internally administering certain compounds are not indefinite, although there is no reference to a host, since it is clear that compounds would find their primary use as medication for humans with a possibility that they might find some veterinary use in other animals.

2. CLAIMS INDEFINITE-CHEMICAL

Broad definitions of quantity or dosage are not indefinite where invention resides in finding the activity rather than in discovering some critical range or the like.

3. SPECIFICATION-SUFFICIENCY OF DISCLOSURE

Law requires that disclosure in application shall inform those skilled in the art how to use applicant's alleged discovery, not how to find out how to use for themselves.

United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, June 25, 1970 Appeal from Patent Office, Serial No. 369,591

[Affirmed.]

Arthur R. Eglington, attorney of record for appellants; George J. Harding, 3rd, Joan S. Keps, of counsel.

S. Wm. Cochran for the Commissioner of Patents. Leroy B. Randall, Jack Armore, of counsel.

[Oral argument May 4, 1970 by Mr. Harding and Mr. Armore]

Before RICH, ALMOND, BALDWIN, LANE, Associate Judges, and FISHER, Judge, sitting by designation

RICH, Judge, delivered the opinion of the court:

This appeal is from the decision of the Patent Office Board of Appeals, adhered to on reconsideration, affirming the rejection of claims 1-5, all claims of application serial No. 369,591, filed May 22, 1964, for "Antidepressant Compositions and Methods of Producing Antidepressant Activity."

374-293-71-34

The Invention

Claims 1 and 2 are directed to pharmaceutical compositions "having antidepressant activity” and claims 3–5 are directed to a “method of producing antidepressant activity which comprises internally administering” certain compounds. No claim makes any mention of the subject to which the composition or compound is administered, a fact underlying one of the rejections. Underlying another rejection is the fact that the specification nowhere makes any reference to the subject of the administration of the medication, which the Patent Office herein refers to as the "host," i that is to say, the recipient of the medication.

The invention here resided in appellants' alleged discovery of the antidepressant activity in 2-aminomethyl-1,3-benzodioxole compounds. In view of the nature of the rejections, we need not consider these compounds further. No references are relied on. No objection has been made as to the novelty or utility of the compositions claimed or to the novelty or operativeness of the methods claimed, or to the unobviousness of either, and patentability can be assumed provided the specification and claims comply with the statute.

The Rejections

The rejections before us, as affirmed by the board, are stated in the examiner's Answer as follows:

* Claims 3–5 stand rejected as failing to define and particularly point out the invention as required by 35 U.S.C. 112. Claims 3–5 are indefinite in the omission of a host. They are indefinite as to whom the "administering" is to.

Claims 1-5 stand rejected as being based on a defective specification in that it fails to teach one skilled in the art how to use the invention as required by 35 U.S.C. 112. There is not one specific embodiment of a contemplated host. While dosages are recited on page 6 of the specification and in the claims, they are (1) not related to any host nor (2) are the dosages related to body weight of a host. The question is not one of obviousness, but a failure to "set forth the best mode contemplated" (35 U.S.C. 112). The examiner's reference to "obviousness" was not the obviousness of the claimed invention but was a reply to appellants' argument that, notwithstanding the total absence from the specification of any mention of a host, it would be obvious to those of ordinary skill in the medical art not only that the host would be a human or other animal

1 Though we doubt the appropriateness of the term "host" in the context of this case, the medication administered being chemical compounds, we will use it since no one has objected to it. Dorland's Medical Dictionary, 230 Ed. (1955), defines "host" as "An animal or plant which harbors or nourishes another organism (parasite)."

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »