Ex parte REKOW et al. - Page 4

              Appeal No. 1997-1155                                                                     Page 4                
              Application No. 08/376,199                                                                                     

              the filter element to provide a hermetic seal.  We also note that the term "compressible" is                   
              defined on page 6 of the appellants' specification  as follows:2                                                             

                      the term "compressible" means the cross-sectional area of the filter element                           
                      (normal to the direction of fluid flow) is reduced more than the retainer's cross-                     
                      sectional area (defined by the interior side of the wall of the filter element                         
                      retainer) is expanded when the filter element is inserted therein.  In other words,                    
                      the wall 26 is more rigid than the filter element.                                                     
                      Tayebi (Figure 3) discloses a face mask or respirator comprising a filter 17 of a fibrous              
              material impregnated with activated charcoal.  The filter is sufficiently flexible that it conforms            
              to the inside of the central portion of a mask shell 11.  A snap-in retainer 19, shown in Figures              
              3 and 4, molded of a flexible thermoplastic material that can bend as it is inserted into the                  
              interior of the mask shell 11 snaps into a groove around the interior of the mask shell 11 to                  
              retain the filter 17 inside the mask shell 11.  On assembly, the retainer 19 also deforms to                   
              match the contour of the inside of the mask shell 11 (column 10, lines 38-59).  While it is clear              
              from Tayebi's disclosure that both the filter and the retainer 19 are flexible, there is no                    
              indication as to whether the filter 17 is more or less rigid than the retainer 19 or whether the               
              filter 17 is compressed such that its cross-sectional area normal to the direction of fluid flow is            
              reduced at all or whether the retainer's cross-sectional area is expanded upon insertion of the                
              filter in the retainer.                                                                                        

                      An applicant can be his own lexicographer provided the applicant's definition, to the extent it differs from2                                                                                                     
              the conventional definition, is clearly set forth in the specification.  Beachcombers Int’l, Inc. v. WildeWood Creative
              Prods., Inc., 31 F.3d 1154, 1158, 31 USPQ2d 1653, 1656 (Fed. Cir. 1994).                                       

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