Ex parte MATTHEW A. HOWARD et al. - Page 5

          Appeal No. 96-0022                                                          
          Application 08/096,214                                                      

                    ... whether the claims do, in fact, set                           
                    out and circumscribe a particular area                            
                    with a reasonable degree of precision                             
                    and particularity.... [t]he definiteness                          
                    of the language employed must be                                  
                    analyzed--not in a vacuum, but always in                          
                    light of the teachings of the prior art                           
                    and of the particular application                                 
                    disclosure as it would be interpreted by                          
                    one possessing the ordinary level of                              
                    skill in the pertinent art.                                       
                    In the instant case, the examiner is of the opinion               
          that the recitation "like a torpedo" in claim 43 is indefinite              
          since a torpedo can assume a variety of shapes.  In regard to the           
          appellants argument that a torpedo is defined in Websters Third             
          New International Dictionary to be shaped like a cigar, the                 
          examiner states that cigars can also assume a variety of shapes.            
          The examiner also states that it is not readily apparent that               
          element 61 is shaped like a torpedo or like a cigar in Figures 9-           
          11 and that the term torpedo is never used to describe magnet 61            
          in the specification.                                                       
                    We do not agree with the examiner.  Contrary to the               
          assertion of the examiner, the specification at page 4 discloses            
          that the magnetic means has a torpedo-like shape.  In our view,             
          this disclosure along with the depiction of magnetic means 61 in            
          Figure 11 provide adequate notice of the shape of the magnetic              
          means to those who would endeavor, in future enterprise to                  


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