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(Message started by: Bill Richards on Oct 7th, 2007, 2:09am)

Title: M+F v. Noun
Post by Bill Richards on Oct 7th, 2007, 2:09am
I have a set screw that can be used to align an element in a mechanical device.  In addition to using a set screw, other types of mechanisms (e.g., ratchet, spring-loaded device) may be employed.  What are the pros and cons of using "alignment means" versus "aligner"?  The disclosure includes several examples.  My thought is that with the M+F, I'd be limited to those examples and equivalents thereof.  With the "aligner" noun, would I be limited just to the examples?

Title: Re: M+F v. Noun
Post by TataBoxInhibitor on Oct 7th, 2007, 8:51am
Sidenote: Do you generally use "******** means" or "means for ********?"  I guess my question relates to paragraph 6.   Must you say "means for"  or is it ok to just use means?

Regards,

Title: Re: M+F v. Noun
Post by Bill Guess on Oct 17th, 2007, 12:18pm
Do you generally use "******** means" or "means for ********?" I guess my question relates to paragraph 6. Must you say "means for" or is it ok to just use means?


I would always use "means for ********x". With this form, a gerund will (or at least should) be used.

Take for example poor ole Shelley Cole :'(

http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/FEDERAL/judicial/fed/opinions/95opinions/95-1505.html

Mrs. Cole's patent U.S. 4,743,239 teaches a disposable training brief whereby the brief goes on feet first but may be removed by ripping perforations along a lateral seam in case of an accident. Pretty clever.

Not so clever was the claim. In which "perforation means" appears. It's not a means for perforating is it?

The statute states that no structure may appear within a means plus function claim element.

Here's the fifth element of 4,743,239 - Claim 1.

"perforation means extending from the leg band means to the waist band means through the outer impermeable layer means for tearing the outer impermeable layer means for removing the training brief in case of an accident by the user."

Don't use that word "means" unless you mean it. The above drafter seemed to have been carried away.

Bill







Title: Re: M+F v. Noun
Post by Bill Guess on Oct 17th, 2007, 7:37pm
Means plus function with no structure in the specification

another oops.

http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/opinions/07-1108.pdf

Maurice Mitchell Innovations, L.P. v. Intell Corporation

I believe in this situation the inventors tell the practitioner what their invention does and he fills in the blanks with M+F elements.  A shortcut.   Big mistake.  "Means for causing" was the threshold train wreck.  A person skilled in the art must be able to determine the structure that performs the recited function otherwise the claim in not distinct relative to Title 35 Section 112 second para.  The CAFC said none was found in the specification toward this claim element and therefore the claim was not distinct.

First of all I don't like the term "causing".  Like "causing a train wreck".  Kind of a single event type thing.  Right?

Anyway, means plus function requires Bruce Lee type logic and evaluation.  What performs the function.  Then claim the function and not just any function, the broadest function allowed by the prior art.

Bill




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