Ex parte IRVIN R. STRAUSS, et al. - Page 4

          Appeal No. 96-1534                                                          
          Application 07/888,991                                                      

          differs from the phrase “any one of steps” [answer, page 15].  As           
          a result of this position and the examiner’s entry of a new                 
          rejection in the answer, appellants amended both independent                
          claims 25 and 28 to read “any one of” a list of steps in an                 
          amendment filed concurrently with the reply brief.  For reasons             
          which are not clear to us, the examiner never addressed what                
          effect the amendment had on the rejections made by the examiner.            
          Even though we do not have the examiner’s interpretation                    
          of the amended claims on record before us, such interpretation is           
          not necessary for disposition of this appeal.  Claim                        
          interpretation or construction is a question of law.  See In re             
          Donaldson Co. Inc., 16 F.3d 1189, 1192, 29 USPQ2d 1845, 1848 (in            
          banc)(Fed. Cir. 1994); Loctite Corp. v. Ultraseal, Ltd., 781 F.2d           
          861, 866, 228 USPQ 90, 93 (Fed. Cir. 1985).  Thus, we will simply           
          give the appealed claims the appropriate legal interpretation.              
          Independent claim 25 recites the step (b) of accessing                      
          information by any one of substeps (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6)             
          and (7).  Because these substeps are connected in an “and”                  
          relationship, we construe claim 25 as requiring that each one of            
          the seven substeps be performed when the condition corresponding            
          to that substep is met.  Likewise, in order for a prior art                 
          reference to suggest the invention of claim 25, the reference               


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