Tuesday, August 17, 2010

BPAI Informative Opinion Addresses "Broadest Reasonable Interpretation"

Ex Parte Givens, Appeal 2009-003414 (BPAI, August 6, 2009)

While the application was decided over a year ago, the USPTO has decided to publish the decision as an informative opinion, presumably as an attempt to push back on the practice of applying a "broadest reasonable interpretation" too liberally.

The issue in this case is straightforward.  Appellant filed an application on a method and apparatus for reducing noise associated with acoustic sensor outputs.  During examination, the claims were rejected under § 102(e) over the Lin reference.

While the Appellant argued that Lin did not disclose a "sub-band spectral subtractive routine," the Examiner countered that Appellant did not provide a specific definition of “sub-band spectral subtractive routine” and thus, giving the term its broadest reasonable interpretation, included any adaptive filter.

The BPAI quickly shot down this reasoning:

We cannot agree [with the Examiner].  Appellant’s Specification explains that “sub-band spectral subtraction algorithms are . . . known to those skilled in the art” in paragraph [0023], sets forth the sub-band spectral subtractive mechanism in paragraph [0032], and also sets forth the function that implements the sub-band spectral noise reduction algorithm . . . Although Appellant’s Specification does not specifically define the term “sub-band spectral subtractive routine,” this is a specific claim term for a specific type of filtering (Spec. ¶[0032]). Any interpretation that fails to give weight to “sub-band,” “spectral,” “subtractive,” and “routine” deprives the words in this claim term of their normal meaning. Thus, the “sub-band spectral subtractive routine” does not include just any adaptive filter, but rather refers to a specific filtering routine. Further, the output from Lin’s LMS based adaption circuit is fed to a summer . . . not a sub-band spectral subtractive routine. A summer is an additive circuit and not a subtractive circuit. Also, Lin does not describe the summer as operating on a sub-band. Thus, because Lin does not disclose each and every element of Appellant’s invention, Lin does not anticipate claims 1-15.
Read/download the opinion here (link)

4 Comentários:

Anonymous said...

"presumably as an attempt to push back on the practice of applying a "broadest reasonable interpretation" too liberally"

Nice thought, but I do not think so. Compare Givens to the other three Informative decisions from July/August 2009. They are all quite brief. My guess is that Kappos has told the Board "Start writing decisions and stop writing books."

Anonymous said...

Examiners and BPAI have always emphasized the "reasonable" in "broadest reasonable interpretation." It is the very junior managers that force rejections for not specifying concepts well known to most of the human race. For example, Manager says, "You can't allow that case examiner because the inventor didn't specify how Newton's law of gravity works, therefore it reasonable to reject the application for a bird feeder with a playground swing." Substitute "gravity," "bird feeder," and "playground swing" with any other physics principle and method/device subject to physics and most of all rejections made by the PTO are junior manager can be explained.

Anonymous said...

Examiners and BPAI have always emphasized the "reasonable" in "broadest reasonable interpretation." It is the very junior managers that force rejections for not specifying concepts well known to most of the human race. For example, Manager says, "You can't allow that case examiner because the inventor didn't specify how Newton's law of gravity works, therefore it reasonable to reject the application for a bird feeder with a playground swing." Substitute "gravity," "bird feeder," and "playground swing" with any other physics principle and method/device subject to physics and most of all rejections made by the PTO are junior manager can be explained.

Anonymous said...

correction to above:

Examiners and BPAI have always emphasized the "reasonable" in "broadest reasonable interpretation." It is the very junior managers that force rejections for not specifying concepts well known to most of the human race. For example, Manager says, "You can't allow that case examiner because the inventor didn't specify how Newton's law of gravity works, therefore it reasonable to reject the application for a bird feeder with a playground swing." Substitute "gravity," "bird feeder," and "playground swing" with any other physics principle and method/device subject to physics and most of all rejections made by the PTO are junior manager based which are be explained by Manager's statement.

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