Ex parte KETCHAM et al. - Page 12

                Appeal No. 1997-0448                                                                                                     
                Application No. 08/327,980                                                                                               

                examiner has failed to address why various aqueous fractions in Barry should be combined at particular                   

                points in the process.  Furthermore, Chiola describes modifying prior art processes where molybdenite                    

                ore is processed to ammonium molybdate using a one-component ammonium hydroxide process to                               

                produce the ammonium molybdate  (col. 1, line 68 - col. 2, line 2), similar to those described by Barry                  

                and Vertes, with a two-component solvent extraction process (col. 2, lines 67-72) where the feed                         

                solution is first contacted with an organic extraction solvent containing a tertiary amine and then                      

                contacting the molybdenum-pregnant organic solution with an ammonium solution (col. 3, lines 9-20).                      

                The mere fact that the prior art could be so modified would not have made the modification obvious                       

                unless the prior art suggested the desirability of the modification.  In re Laskowski, 871 F.2d 115, 117,                

                10 USPQ2d 1397, 1398-99 (Fed. Cir. 1989); In re Gordon, 733 F.2d 900, 902, 221 USPQ 1125,                                

                1127 (Fed. Cir. 1984).                                                                                                   

                        Based on the foregoing, we conclude that the examiner has not established a prima facie case                     

                of obviousness as to claims 1-7 and 10-19 over Barry in view of Vertes and Chiola.                                       

                II.  Rejection of claims 20-21 as obvious over Barry in view of Vertes and Chiola as applied to                          
                claims 1-7 and 10-19 above, and further in view of Sohn.                                                                 

                        Sohn discloses reacting fine powders of molybdenite and lime (CaO) with steam (i.e., water                       
                vapor) to produce calcium molybdate and hydrogen.       18                                                               

                        18See Sohn, col. 9, lines 41-60.                                                                                 
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