Q) Anticipation / Inherency (10.03.7p)

by admin on April 10, 2010 · 0 comments

in Exam Questions

Recent test takers report that question #7 from the October 2003 (PM) test is in the patent bar exam database.

7. The claimed invention in a patent application is directed to an explosive composition “comprising 60-90% solid ammonium nitrate, and 10-40% water-in-oil in which sufficient aeration is entrapped to enhance sensitivity to a substantial degree.” The application discloses that the explosive requires both fuel (the ammonium nitrate), and oxygen to “sensitize the composition.” A prior art reference, published more than two years before the effective filing date of the application, discloses explosive compositions containing water-in-oil emulsions having identical ingredients to those claimed, in ranges overlapping with the claimed composition. The only element of the claim not recited in the reference is “sufficient aeration entrapped to enhance sensitivity to a substantial degree.” The reference does not recognize that sufficient aeration sensitizes the fuel to a substantial degree. In addition to the prior art reference, a printed publication contains test data demonstrating that “sufficient aeration” is necessarily an inherent element in the prior art blasting composition under the circumstances. In accordance with the patent laws, rules and the procedures as related in the MPEP, the prior art reference:
(A) anticipates the claim because it discloses every limitation of the claim either explicitly or inherently.
(B) does not anticipate the claim because the prior art reference does not recognize an inherent property.
(C) does not anticipate the claim because the prior art reference does not recognize an inherent function of oxygen.
(D) does not anticipate the claim because the prior art reference does not recognize an inherent ingredient, oxygen.
(E) (B), (C) and (D).

ANSWER: (A) is the best answer. 35 U.S.C. § 102; MPEP § 2131.01, under the heading “Extra Reference or Evidence Can Be Used To Show an Inherent Characteristic of the Thing Taught by the Primary Reference,” states “that as long as there is evidence of record establishing inherency, failure of those skilled in the art to contemporaneously recognize an inherent property, function or ingredient of a prior art reference does not preclude a finding of anticipation. Atlas Powder Co. v. IRECO, Inc., 190 F.3d 1342, 1349, 51 USPQ2d 1943, 1948 (Fed. Cir. 1999) (Two prior art references disclosed blasting compositions containing water-in oil emulsions with identical ingredients to those claimed, in overlapping ranges with the claimed composition. The only element of the claims arguably not present in the prior art compositions was “sufficient aeration . . . entrapped to enhance sensitivity to a substantial degree.” The Federal Circuit found that the emulsions described in both references would inevitably and inherently have “sufficient aeration” to sensitize the compound in the claimed ranges based on the evidence of record (including test data and expert testimony). (B) is incorrect. The prior art reference, to anticipate the claimed invention, is not required to recognize an inherent property. See MPEP § 2131.01. (C) is incorrect. The prior art reference, to anticipate the claimed invention, is not required to recognize an inherent function of oxygen. See MPEP § 2131.01. (D) is incorrect. The prior art reference, to anticipate the claimed invention, is not required to recognize an inherent ingredient, oxygen. See MPEP § 2131.01. (E) is incorrect because (B), (C), and (D) are incorrect, as explained above.

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