Ex parte AKIBA et al. - Page 5

              Appeal No. 1998-2204                                                                                            
              Application No. 08/470,432                                                                                      

              otherwise that may be afforded by the written description contained in the applicant's                          
              specification.  In re Morris, 127 F.3d 1048, 1054, 44 USPQ2d 1023, 1027 (Fed. Cir. 1997).                       
              In this instance, we share the appellants' opinion (brief, page 8) that one of ordinary skill in the            
              art would have understood the term "relatively" as indicating relative hardness of the shock                    
              absorbing member as compared to that of either the guide member or the rod pipe and,                            
              accordingly, would not have considered the sleeve 15 as disclosed by Barnett to be relatively                   
              soft as compared to the rod, which is ideally made from the same material.  Further, while it                   
              may be true that all materials are inherently capable of absorbing at least a nominal amount of                 
              shock, one of ordinary skill in the art would not have considered a glass reinforced plastic                    
              sleeve to necessarily be a "shock absorbing member" (akin to the "solid rubber and the like"                    
              material disclosed on page 17 of the appellants' specification) as that term is conventionally used             
              in the art and there is no indication in Barnett that the sleeve is either soft or a shock absorbing            
                      Therefore, we shall not sustain the examiner's rejection of claim 26.                                   
                                                 The obviousness rejections                                                   
                      Independent claim 16 requires, inter alia, a tubular member and a guide means                           
              comprising a first guide ring at the first (outside) end and a second guide ring at the second                  
              (inside) end, wherein the second guide ring is disposed within the hollow core of the tubular                   
              member and the first guide ring is coaxial with respect to the second guide ring. We interpret                  


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