Ex Parte Saito et al - Page 5
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free to define the specific terms used to describe his or her invention, this
must be done with reasonable clarity, deliberateness, and precision.”).
What the Specification describes is a number of different “patterns”
which appear to be “predetermined operation patterns” within the meaning
of the claim. For instance, the “pattern” may be a predetermined pattern of
gas flow (fuel or oxidative gas) supplied to the fuel cell, a pattern of gas
supply pressure, a pattern of humidification, a pattern of fuel cell
temperature, or a pattern of exhaust gas temperature; to name a few
(Specification ¶¶ 0012, 14 and 15). The Specification further describes,
among other things, operations involving changing the generated current I of
the fuel cell and detecting the change in the generated voltage (Specification
According its plain meaning, the term “operation” refers to any
manner of operating or functioning.
Taking in consideration the guidance from the Specification, the plain
meaning of “operation” to those of ordinary skill in the art, and breath of the
term “operation,” we determine that the claimed “operation pattern”
encompasses any pattern the fuel cell operator selects to run the operation,
i.e., the pattern of generated current, gas supply flow, gas pressures, and
temperatures input into the cell during its operation, for instance. The claim
requires the pattern be “predetermined,” i.e., determined before the fuel cell
diagnostic method takes place.
The phrase “operational state” is also not defined in the Specification.
However, the Specification indicates that there is an operational state of the
fuel cell corresponding to each of the operation patterns (Specification
¶ 0009), and further indicates that the operational state may be an output
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Last modified: November 3, 2007