Two Opinions of the US Board of Appeals (BPAI) on "Broadest Reasonable Interpretation"

(Hermes, messenger of the Gods) Only recently, the USPTO has published the BPAI decision ex parte Givens as an informative opinion on the importend question as to how broad patent claims may be interpreted by USPTO examiners. As summarised on Peter Zura's 271 Patent Blog, an application relating to a "method and apparatus for reducing noise associated with acoustic sensor outputs" has been rejected during examination due to alledged lack of novelty over a prior art reference pursuant 35 U.S.C § 102(e). While the rejected claim comprised a "sub-band spectral subtractive routine", the Examiner argued that, since the application did "not provide a specific definition of 'sub-band spectral subtractive routine', thus, giving the term its broadest reasonable interpretation, the term can include any adaptive filter". The Board of Appeal (BPAI) found that this is a rather liberal application of the demanded 'broadest reasonable interpretation', and argued:
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 term “sub-band spectral subtractive routine” does not include just any adaptive filter, but rather refers to a specific filtering ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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