Ex parte LACKIE - Page 4




          Appeal No. 1996-3504                                                        
          Application No. 08/265,648                                                  


          scope and meaning of the claimed subject matter.  Gechter v.                
          Davidson, 116 F.3d 1454, 1457, 43 USPQ2d 1030, 1032 (Fed. Cir.              
          1997); In re Paulsen, 30 F.3d 1475, 1479, 31 USPQ2d 1671, 1674              
          (Fed. Cir. 1994).  Generally, we give the broadest reasonable               
          interpretation to the terms in claims consistent with                       
          appellants‘ specification.  In re Morris, 127 F.3d 1048, 1053-              
          54, 44 USPQ2d 1023, 1027 (Fed. Cir. 1997).  When the terms in               
          the claims are written in a “means-plus-function” format,                   
          however, we interpret them as the corresponding structure                   
          shown in the specification or equivalents thereof consistent                
          with 35 U.S.C.  112, paragraph 6.  In re Donaldson, 16 F.3d                
          1189, 1193, 29 USPQ2d 1845, 1848 (Fed. Cir. 1994).  The manner              
          in which a “means-plus-function” element is expressed, either               
          by a function followed by the term “means” or by the term                   
          “means for” followed by a function, is unimportant so long as               
          the modifier of that term specifies a function to be                        
          performed.  Ex parte Klumb, 159 USPQ 694, 695 (Bd. App. 1967).              
          According to Al-Site Corp. v. VSI International Inc., 174 F.3d              
          1308, 1313, 50 USPQ2d 1161, 1166 (Fed. Cir. 1999),                          
               if the word “means” appears in a claim element in                      
               combination with a function, it is presumed to be a                    
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