Test takers have reported questions #6 from the April 2000 (AM) patent bar exam in the current question database.
6. Which of the following statements is true regarding a product-by-process claim?
(A) Product-by-process claims cannot vary in scope from each other.
(B) Product-by-process claims may only be used in chemical cases.
(C) A lesser burden of proof may be required to make out a case of prima facie obviousness for product-by-process claims than is required to make out a prima facie case of obviousness when the product is claimed in the conventional fashion.
(D) It is proper to use product-by-process claims only when the process is patentable.
(E) It is proper to use product-by-process claims only when the product is incapable of description in the conventional fashion.
6. ANSWER: (C). MPEP § 2113, page 2100-51, citing In re Fessman, 489 F.2d 742, 744, 180 USPQ 324, 326 (CCPA 1974). (A) and (E) are incorrect because “[t]he fact that it is necessary for an applicant to describe his product in product-by-process terms does not prevent him from presenting claims of varying scope.” MPEP § 2173.05(p), item (I). (D) is incorrect even if it is not necessary to describe the product in product-by-process form. (D) is incorrect because “determination of patentability is based on the product itself. The patentability of a product does not depend on its method of production. If the product in the product-by-process claim is the same as or obvious from a product of the prior art, the claim is unpatentable even thought the prior art was made by a different process.” MPEP § 2113, [p.2100-51]. (B) is incorrect. “A claim to a device, apparatus, claim, or composition of matter may contain a reference to the process in which it is intended to be used…so long as it is clear that the claim is directed to the product and not the process.” MPEP § 2173.05(p), item (I) [p.2100-174].