Scott Daniels | April 5, 2010
(1) PTO Board Relies on Internet Posting to Reject Refrigerant Claims
The Board has affirmed the rejection of certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,336,333, owned by OZ Technology. The ’333 patent claims an automobile refrigeration system designed to use refrigerant R-12, in which the R-12 has been replaced with a mixture of propane and butane in amounts that give approximately the same properties as R-12. Reexamination was requested by Thermofluid Technologies.
The Board’s decision is interesting in that the Board relied upon the disclosure of an Internet posting. The Board found the posting to be publicly accessible and therefore a printed publication under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) because it appeared for at least a few days in 1991 on USENET, a public forum directed to certain newsgroups including a newsgroup for those skilled in the refrigerant art. The Board found that members of the public could access an index of postings with titles on USENET, so that one skilled in the art could find the prior art posting.
(2) Prosecution Closed for Nycomed’s Acne Patent
The PTO has closed the inter partes reexamination of U.S. Patent No. 6,429,231, owned by Nycomed and claiming a topical composition for treating acne or rosacea. The composition comprises sodium sulfacetamide, sulfur and urea. River’s Edge Pharmaceuticals filed the reexamination request, but does not seem to have participated since its initial filing.
(3) Smart Card Claims Emerge Successfully from Reexamination
After almost six years, the patentability of most of the claims in U.S. Patent No. 6,577,229 has been confirmed. The ‘229 patent is owned by Cubic Corp. and claims smart card systems for establishing communication links using multiple smart card communication protocols.
The patentability of original claims 1-27 and new claims 33-34 was confirmed, but the rejection of claims 29-32 was affirmed. Interestingly, the third party request sought reexamination of only claims 1-6, 11, 19, 21 and 29-32, but the PTO ordered reexamination of all the ‘229 claims.