This appeal is from the Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") Board of Appeals ("board") affirming the rejection of claims 1, 3, and 4, in application serial No. 888,943, filed December 29, 1969, for "Alkoxymethyl and Benzyloxymethyl Phenobarbital and Diphenylhydantoin Compounds and Therapeutic Compositions Containing Same." We affirm.
The compounds defined in the appealed claims are phenobarbital derivatives which are useful as anticonvulsant agents for
Each of these claims reads on the compound 1,3-dimethoxymethyl-5-ethyl-5-phenyl barbituric acid, also known as 1,3-dimethoxymethyl phenobarbital (hereinafter "DMMP"), which has the formula:
The original decision of the board affirmed the examiner's final rejection of the claims under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) as anticipated by Doran,
Responding to appellant's argument that Doran "is non-enabling," the examiner had cited Henze,
Following remand from this court, the board was "not persuaded of any error" in its original decision.
Appellant's position is that, where resort must be had to a second reference for a suggestion of how to make a compound, a rejection under section 102 is proper only if it can be shown that one skilled in the art would have had an incentive to make the compound. Further—
Appellant adds that the incentive to make the compound must be shown by a disclosure in the reference of some "practical utility."
The Solicitor's position appears to be that, since appellant is claiming the compound per se and not a use therefor, the claims were anticipated by the disclosure (more than one year prior to appellant's filing date) of the structural formula of DMMP in Doran and the further disclosure of a method of preparing DMMP (e. g., Fujinaga) which would have been known to one of ordinary skill in the art.
Doran, a printed publication which discloses every material element of the claimed subject matter, would constitute a bar under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) to appellant's right to a patent if, more than one year prior to appellant's filing date, it placed DMMP "in possession of the public." In re Coker, 463 F.2d 1344, 59 CCPA 1185, 175 USPQ 26 (1972); In re Wilder, 429 F.2d 447, 57 CCPA 1314, 166 USPQ 545 (1970); In re Brown, 329 F.2d 1006, 51 CCPA 1254, 141 USPQ 245 (1964); In re LeGrice, 301 F.2d 929, 49 CCPA 1124, 133 USPQ 365 (1962). Whether claimed subject matter was in possession of the public depends on whether a method of preparing the claimed subject matter would have been known by, or would have been obvious to, one of ordinary skill in the pertinent art. In re Brown, supra, 329 F.2d at 1011, 51 CCPA at 1260, 141 USPQ at 249; see In re Coker, supra; In re Hoeksema, 399 F.2d 269, 55 CCPA 1493, 158 USPQ 596 (1968). Here, the mere recitation in Doran of the structural formula of DMMP would clearly not have been sufficient to place DMMP in possession of the public. In re Wiggins, 488 F.2d 538, 179 USPQ 421 (Cust. & Pat.App.1973); In re Brown, supra, 329 F.2d at 1010-11, 51 CCPA at 1259, 141 USPQ at 248-49. However, the disclosure in Doran must be considered together with the knowledge of one of ordinary skill in the pertinent art. In re Collins, 462 F.2d 538, 59 CCPA 1170, 174 USPQ 333 (1972); In re LeGrice, supra, 301 F.2d at 936, 49 CCPA at 1134, 133 USPQ at 372.
In this appeal, additional references (Henze, Fujinaga, and Henze et al.) are relied on solely as evidence that, more than one year prior to appellant's filing date, a method of preparing the claimed subject matter (DMMP) would have been known by, or would have been obvious to, one of ordinary skill in the art. Therefore, the key issue before us is whether the PTO, in making a rejection under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) on a single prior art reference that discloses every material element of the claimed subject matter, can properly rely on additional references for such purpose. We
Although the board's opinion following remand is somewhat ambiguous, it appears that the board merely considered Fujinaga and Henze et al. to be the equivalent of the Henze patent and did not change the original rejection by the examiner for anticipation by Doran, citing the Henze patent for its teaching of a method of preparing the compound disclosed by Doran. Also, we note appellant's admission that "the appealed claims stand rejected as anticipated under 35 U.S.C. 102(b) by Doran, with Henze . . . being relied on to show a method for preparing the compound disclosed by Doran." Notwithstanding this admission, appellant has not argued that this method was beyond the level of ordinary skill in the pertinent art.
As to appellant's argument that, where resort must be had to a second reference for a method of preparing a compound, a rejection under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) is proper only if it can be shown that one skilled in the art would have had an incentive to make DMMP, this is reminiscent of the principle frequently applied against section 103 rejections, namely: that the teachings of references can be combined only if there is some suggestion or incentive to do so. Apparently, appellant would have the court extend this principle to section 102(b) rejections. This, however, we are unwilling to do. Additional references cited in a rejection under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) are not relied on for a suggestion or incentive to combine teachings to meet claim limitations (as in a rejection under 35 U.S.C. § 103), but, rather, to show that the claimed subject matter, every material element of which is disclosed in the primary reference, was in possession of the public.
Appellant's further argument that "some practical utility" for DMMP must be disclosed in the prior art before Doran can serve as a statutory bar (since the microfilm reference would have indicated to one of ordinary skill in the art that DMMP was "without effect" or "without activity") is also not persuasive. As stated by this court in In re Hafner, 410 F.2d 1403, 1405, 56 CCPA 1424, 1426, 161 USPQ 783, 785 (1969)—
That the microfilm
In view of the foregoing, the decision of the board is affirmed.
BALDWIN, Judge, concurring.
I would not resolve this case on the broad "key issue" stated in the majority opinion. The issue should recognize the fact that the primary reference provided strong evidence that the described compound was made and tested. This fact is relevant to the anticipation issue. The fact exists in this case and we should not now attempt to decide future cases in which the fact does not exist.
If the issue in the case is as broad as the majority suggests. The court is abandoning our often expressed view that not every document which sets out a chemical structure "describes" the chemical compound which has the structure. The matter is far too important to be handled as dicta. If the mere recitation of a formula "describes" a claimed compound, what life is left in Judge Rich's statement, speaking on behalf of the court, that "a formula is not a compound and while it may serve in a claim to identify what is being patented, as the metes and bounds of a deed identify a plot of land, the thing that is being patented is not the formula but the compound identified by it." In re Papesch, 315 F.2d 381, 391, 50 CCPA 1084, 1097, 137 USPQ 43, 51 (1963).
A compound is described by a reference, in my view, if the reference recites the structure and recites or reliably and accurately predicts at least one significant property of the compound. In the case before us, I would treat the actual existence of the compound as legally equivalent to such a significant property.