Ex parte MALIK et al. - Page 7




                 Appeal No. 97-0677                                                                                                                     
                 Application No. 08/312,710                                                                                                             


                 Crating & Packing, Inc., 731 F.2d 818, 826, 221 USPQ 568, 573-                                                                         
                 74 (Fed. Cir. 1984).                                                                                                                   


                          Admittedly, the fact that some claim language, such as the                                                                    
                 term of degree mentioned supra, may not be precise, does not                                                                           
                 automatically render the claim indefinite and hence invalid                                                                            
                 under the second paragraph of  112.  Seattle Box, supra.                                                                              
                 Nevertheless, the need to cover what might constitute                                                                                  
                 insignificant variations of an invention does not amount to a                                                                          
                 license to resort to the unbridled use of such terms without                                                                           
                 appropriate constraints to guard against the potential use of                                                                          
                 such terms as the proverbial nose of wax.3                                                                                             


                          In Seattle Box, the court set forth the following                                                                             
                 requirements for terms of degree:                                                                                                      
                          When a word of degree is used the district court must                                                                         
                          determine whether the patent's specification provides                                                                         
                          some standard for measuring that degree.  The trial                                                                           
                          court must decide, that is, whether one of ordinary                                                                           
                          skill in the art would understand what is claimed                                                                             
                          when the claim is read in light of the specification.                                                                         

                          3  See White v. Dunbar, 119 US 47, 51-52 (1886) and                                                                           
                 Townsend Engineering Co. v. HiTec Co. Ltd., 829 F.2d 1086, 4                                                                           
                 USPQ2d 1136, 1139 (Fed. Cir. 1987).                                                                                                    
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