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Author Topic: Method Claim  (Read 143 times)


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Method Claim
« on: 07-12-18 at 02:58 pm »

A method claim actually involves a system with cameras set up at different locations and a mechanical device that is triggered based on different things happening with the cameras.

The method claim lists steps, such as determination of certain angles and then a calculation based on that. The calculation is decisive for triggering events. Hopefully that is enough background - I don't want to get too specific.

Here is the problem: The examiner issued a rejection under 112(b) because certain items are unclear. The method claim specifies certain calculations done by the system, but the examiner wants to know how the calculations are done, is there a process, is a computer used etc. Unfortunately (I didn't write this patent application), the specification is more or less silent about how any calculations are done. It just details which calculations are done and which results are triggering results, but there is no talk about what is used to do these calculations.

What would be the best way to approach this? I thought that a person with ordinary skill in the art could very easily use anything, such as a computer, to have these calculations carried out, and my first idea would be to argue that and say that specific hardware would therefore not be necessary. I'm not sure if that would fly, though. Any other ideas - given that nothing is mentioned in the specification?


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Re: Method Claim
« Reply #1 on: 07-12-18 at 04:17 pm »


I suspect much of the heavy lifting for various calculations will be available in prior art image / video processing libraries such as OpenCV.

My approach to the claims might be something like the following:

1. A method to trigger a mechanical device based on events visually detected as a function of moving object images captured by a camera, comprising:

   positioning a first camera in a first location predetermined as a function of geospatial coordinates;

   positioning a second camera in a second location predetermined as a function of a vector displacement from the first location;
   operably coupling the cameras to a processor configured with processor-executable program instructions configured when executed by the processor to cause the processor to perform operations comprising:
      capturing a first image of a moving object from the first camera at a first time;
      capturing a second image of the moving object from the second camera at the first time;
      capturing a third image of the moving object from the first camera at a second time later than the first time;
      capturing a fourth image of the moving object from the second camera at the second time;
      determining the moving object's linear displacement vector, calculated by the [*** prior art algorithm 1 ***] as a function of the first, second, third, and fourth images;
      determining the angle from the moving object's linear displacement vector to a line between the first and second camera, calculated by the [*** prior art algorithm 2 ***] as a function of the first, second, third, and fourth images; and,
      automatically triggering the mechanical device based on a comparison of the calculated angle with a predetermined event detection threshold.
Not legal advice, for discussion purposes only.


Robert K S

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Re: Method Claim
« Reply #2 on: 07-12-18 at 04:42 pm »

You should also consider the possibility that you have the misfortune of drawing an examiner who doesn't understand section 112(b).  Alleging indefiniteness isn't an examiner's carte blanche to force an applicant to add whatever detail the examiner might imagine into the claim.  A claim is not indefinite so long as it is not so ambiguous or vague as to fail to provide notice warning to the potential infringer, and breadth is not indefiniteness.  Moreover, it is not the purpose of a claim to teach or enable the invention (if it were, claims would be as long as specifications).

A telephonic interview (make sure to include the examiner's supervisor) may help provide clarity or show the examiner the error of his ways, but if your situation is like so many I've been in, I wouldn't count on it.  In many of my cases it has taken the Board's reversal to make progress where the examiner just has no interest in understanding the law.
This post is made in the context of professional discussion of general patent law issues and nothing contained herein may be construed as legal advice.


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