GTV Wins Appeal of Indefiniteness and Obviousness Rejections

In a recent appeal decision reversing all major points of rejection, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) found the claims at issue to be nonobvious and definite in scope.

The claims were directed towards a disposable chromatography system, and methods thereof, that utilize a particulate slurry as the stationary phase/filtration medium within a flexible container.  In particular, the claimed flexible container is separated into a filtration portion and a drainage portion by a separation barrier/frit filter.  In operation, the particulate slurry, i.e., the stationary phase, is restricted from entering the drainage portion by the separation barrier while fluids, i.e., a mobile phase, are allowed to pass through the separation barrier to the drainage portion.  The separation barrier further includes a nozzle which fluidizes the particulate slurry by directing the mobile phase towards the particulate slurry at a high velocity to dislodge some of the particulate slurry.

In its decision, the PTAB agreed with GTV’s argument that the specification makes clear to those of ordinary skill in the art, that the term “high velocity” is a velocity sufficient for a mobile phase to fluidize the filtration medium.  The PTAB further agreed with GTV’s position that the Examiner was improperly reading a solid monolithic filter on the claimed filtration medium, and that the Examiner’s arguments regarding combinability of the cited references were fundamentally flawed.  

Accordingly, the PTAB reversed the Examiner’s holding stating that “…the rejection fails to articulate a sufficient reason with some rational underpinning that would have prompted a person having ordinary skill in the art to combine [the references] in the manner claimed…”.

Notably, the Examiner had an overall allowance rate of 13% at the time of the filing of the Notice of Appeal.