Ex Parte GOEDE et al - Page 7

          Appeal 1997-3391                                                            
          Application 08/212,578                                                      

                    32. By using a sustained-release system, "[e]xcess                
          drug concentrations are minimized and steady long-term release of           
          the drug is maximized" (col. 3, lines 43-45).                               
                    33. Eichel explicitly suggests that sustained-release             
          systems are useful for "analgesics" other than aspirin (col. 4,             
          lines 4-11).  Flupirtine is an analgesic (Finding 4).                       
                    34. Eichel mentions 8-hour sustained release systems              
          (col. 4, line 45) and 12-hour sustained release systems (col. 8,            
          line 30).                                                                   

               B.   Discussion                                                        
               According to applicants, the prior art does not make out a             
          prima facie case of obviousness.  We disagree.                              
               The use of sustained-release systems to administer drugs is            
          well-known.  There are numerous reasons recognized the art for              
          their use.  Elimination of frequent dosages (Eichel, col. 1,                
          lines 27-29) and minimizing excess drug concentration in the body           
          at any particular time (col. 3, lines 43-45) are benefits of a              
          sustained-release system.  Optimal absorption of a drug is also a           
          benefit (Tamás, col. 2, lines 41-43).  The benefits are                     
          applicable to the administration of analgesics (Eichel, col. 4,             
          lines 10-11) and flupirtine is a known analgesic.                           
               But, applicants contend that there is no reason to combine             
          the teachings of Lobisch with sustained-release art such as                 

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