|Now where the deuce did that nanomouse go?|
Without going into too much detail, it appears that the claims in General Electric's patent application referred to a
"copper catalyst precursor selected from the group consisting of copper metal, copper (I) oxide, copper (II) oxide, copper (I) chloride, copper (II) chloride, copper (I) carboxylates, copper (II) carboxylates, other copper salts, and mixtures thereof, having an average particle size from about 0.1 to about 600 nanometers".This would have been fine for the Kat, because he's not what the Americans call the PHOSITA (Pussycat having ordinary skill in the art) it's all the same to him where in the range of 0.1 to about 600 nanometers this average particle size happened to be. However, since the claims did not unambiguously state either the type of average involved (volume, surface, number) or a method for determining it, the examiner was none too impressed and refused the application.
Dismissing GE's appeal, the Technical Board affirmed that the claims were unpatentable for lack of clarity. It rejected the argument that the necessary clarity was provided by a statement in the specification that the preferred embodiment was to use particles prepared according to the method of an identified co-pending patent application, which did contain a description of a method of measuring size. This was because the terms of that reference, relating only to the method of making the particles, did not make the disclosure of the method of measuring the particles' size part of the disclosure of the present application.
Wonders the IPKat. is this one of those miserable cases where we all really know what the applicant means but have to penalise him for not having clearly and explicitly said it? Or is it a case of a crafty applicant trying to gain a little extra edge over anyone putting the invention into effect by being less than specific? Merpel says, I think this case is only being discussed here because it's about a Katalyst.
Nano stuff here
Nani stuff here
Nana stuff here