Ex parte BIENER - Page 6

              Appeal No. 1997-0003                                                                                          
              Application No. 08/342,614                                                                                    
              they must be present.  Biener, col. 2, lines 62-65.  Moreover, when we turn to the table in                   
              col. 2, we find that the referenced ions are present in amounts as low .001 grams in the                      
              1000 gram (1 kilogram) composition taught by Biener.  That is to say, they are only present                   
              as trace elements.  In our view, such teachings would have suggested to one of ordinary                       
              skill in the art that the ions provided by trace elements are not essential for the treatment of              
              acne and seborrhea since the claimed compositions additionally contain at least one                           
              additional therapeutic agent and a solvent.  In addition, the appellant acknowledges in the                   
              specification that it is well known that salt solutions exert an osmotic effect on the skin                   
              which is responsible for skin shrinkage.  Specification, p. 3, para. 1.  Thus, in view of the                 
              role of the salt component in the treatment of skin, and given that the osmotic effect is due                 
              to the total ion concentration present in the composition, we find that it would have been                    
              obvious to those of ordinary skill in the art that said effect would still occur in the absence of            
              the trace elements.                                                                                           
                     Claims 25 and 37 are directed to a method of treating acne using the compositions                      
              of claims 21 and 34 wherein the salt composition comprises at least 67 weight % sodium                        
              chloride.  We recognize that the compositions taught by Biener comprise less than the                         
              claimed amount of sodium chloride; however, the actual difference in concentration                            
              between the prior art and claimed compositions is negligible.  We point out that the claims                   
              require as few as four (4) grams more sodium (270 grams) in a 1000 gram (1 kilogram)                          
              composition than the amount taught by Biener (266 grams/kg).  In our view, those of                           


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