Ex Parte Curtin - Page 3
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Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences > 2007 > Ex Parte Curtin - Page 3
Appeal No. 2007-3253
The claimed dryer encompassed by claim 1 is specified as comprising
at least “movement means” for the stated function and “control means” for
the stated function. Claim 2 further limits claim 1 in specifying “securing
means” for the stated function. Claim 8, on which claim 9 depends, further
limits claim 1 in specifying “muffler means” for the stated function. None
of the stated functions specifies structure to perform the function.
The Examiner states:
The control means has not been construed to invoke the sixth
paragraph of 35 USC 112 since the means for language is used,
which is further modified by functional language, but is not
considered to be modified by sufficient structure, material or
acts for achieving the specific function (since control means . . .
for sending is interpreted as a sufficient act for achieving a
Answer 4. The Examiner also considers the “movement means” in terms of
function. Id. 3. Further, the Examiner has not considered the “securing
means” of claim 2, the “muffler means” of claim 7 which is not limited in
structure by claim 8, or the affect of further limitations on “means”
recitations in other claims.
We determine the Examiner has improperly considered the “means”
limitations in the claims with respect to the strictures of 35 U.S.C. § 112,
sixth paragraph, since the “corresponding structure” in the Specification and
“equivalents” thereof with respect to the means limitations have not been
determined in a manner consistent with the requirements of this statutory
provision before applying the references to the claims.
The resolution of the issues with respect to the rejections of appealed
claims under 35 U.S.C. §§ 102(b) and 103(a) advanced on appeal requires
that the “means” language in the claims must first be interpreted by giving
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Last modified: November 3, 2007