Decided: March 13, 2009
I find this decision interesting because the BPAI applied a dictionary definition for the term "continuously" because the applicant did not define that term in the specification. Also, I was happily surprised that there were no new grounds of rejection based on either Bilski or Nuitjen.
The subject matter of the Collins application was directed to a method and device for transmitting data on a channel within a given power range. The method and device begin transmitting data when a first condition has been met, such as a power level, a synchronization pulse, or a pseudo-random pause. The transmission stops when the power falls below the first power threshold or exceeds a second power threshold level.
Claim 1 of the application recited:
A method comprising the steps of:The claims were rejected under 103. The term at issue was "continuously." The specification was silent as to the terms meaning. As a result, the Board referred to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary and defined "continuous" as "marked by uninterrupted extension in space, time or sequence." Using this definition, the Board determined that cited references did not teach "continuously transmitting data on the selected channel . . . and while transmitting the data continuously monitoring the carrier signal for a second predetermined condition."
receiving a carrier signal;
continuously monitoring the carrier signal for a first predetermined condition;
selecting a channel and continuously transmitting data on the selected channel if the first predetermined condition is satisfied and while transmitting the data continuously monitoring the carrier signal for a second predetermined condition; and
ceasing the transmitting of the data on the selected channel if the second predetermined condition is satisfied during the transmitting of the data on the selected channel, wherein the first predetermined condition is satisfied based on one of, when a received power level exceeds a first threshold and a synchronization signal, and the second predetermined condition is satisfied based on the received power level.
The Examiner had argued that the applicants narrowly construed the term “continuously." The Examiner found that a reference that repeated a loop pattern, when no acknowledgement was received, read on the above limitation. The Board disagreed and stated the reference included a delay period when no data is being transmitting within each loop, and thus the above limitation was not present. The Board also found another delay in the teachings of the reference.
Much to my surprise, there was no Bilski or Nuitjen analysis applied to the method claim.
Claim 6 was a system claim having elements such as:
a receiver for receiving a carrier signal;The Board overturned the rejection of this claim using the same analysis above with respect to the term "continuously."
a monitor ... for continuously monitoring the carrier signal;
a storage medium having data stored therein; and
a transmitter ...
Again, there was no Nuitjen analysis. Also, there was no discussion of "storage medium." The specification did not define storage medium and we have seen the board apply both statutory and non-statutory definitions to this term on different occasions.
Congrats to the Applicants are in order.