Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Paper C 2018 Cleaning and milking cows - the Examiner's report

Now that the report is out, it is time to compare our rough set of attacks to the attacks in the report.
I can be brief: our set matches the report.

Since our set has already been scrutinised extensively in the comments to my previous post, there is not a lot to add from my side. The only thing I noticed is that the committee stated that for claim 2 marks could be appointed for an inventive step attack starting from A3 (instead of the intended attack starting from A2).  Did any of you perform such an attack and did you get any marks?

Any further comments are welcome.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Paper C 2018 Cleaning and milking cows

The DeltaPatents team has worked throughout the night to give you an impression.
Some/many of you may not have slept so well either and did not feel in the mood for opening the champagne bottle.
This exam definitely had some challenges.

We came to the following attacks:

Claim 1 (ind): Nov A2
Claim 2(1): I.S. A4 + A2
Claim 3(1): I.S. A2 +A4
Claim 4 (ind): Nov. A5
Claim 5(4) teats only: I.S. A3 + A2 + A4
Claim 5(4) teats and udder: added subject-matter
Claim 6: Nov. A6

We welcome your comments.

A brief explanation.

1. Priority issue
All claims are disclosed in the priority application, thus there seem to be no ‘same invention issues’
Based on a time line, usability of A6 is an issue. This PCT application might be useable under Art.54(3), but has not entered. So, prima facie not useable.
The client clearly indicates the A1 is granted to Odysseus and that A6 is a PCT application of Odysseus. A6 is filed before the claimed priority, thus A6 is a potential 1st application for some claims.
Checking A6, A6 is novelty destroying for claim 6. To have a full 1st application problem, A6 should disclose the same invention as claim 6. However, A6 is more specific – does not show a colourant in general but a specific one European Blue. Until recently there would thus not have been a 1st application problem because A6 does not describe the same invention as claim 6. However the recent G1/15, T282/12 decided that we can have partial 1st application problems. Thus, Claim 6 partially loses priority for the disclosure in A6. This makes A6 Art.54(2) for that part and thus novelty destroying.
This will have been a challenge for most candidates.

2. Added subject-matter
Claim 5 was added. Investigation will have shown to most candidates that everything of claim 5 is disclosed in the application as filed, in particular [21], [23], with the exception of the second ‘OR’ “both the teats and the udder”. So, here an attack under Art.100(c), 123(2).

3. Claim 1
Seemed relatively straightforward: novelty attack based on A2 is possible. The use/purpose ‘for … outside a milking robot’ should be assessed under ‘suitable for without modification’. A2 discloses all claim features and would be suitable for the outside the robot use.  

4. Claim 2, depending on 1
Here a bit of extra care is required. Both claim 2 and 3 depend on claim 1. In most exams a swap of closest prior art needs to happen.
First checking A2: A2 basically misses the whole bit of claim 2. Thus no novelty attack. A2 is handheld and the essence of claim 2 is to be autonomously driving. Starting from A2 as the closest prior art is unrealistic.
Autonomous moving: A3 and A4 could be used as a starting point. A4 is closer – four wheels motor.
A4 misses the rotating brush of claim 1. This is disclosed in A2 and in A5 for the same effect. A5 is an odd document (farm) and would not easily be consulted for details on cleaning. A2 is best. This gives an inventive step attack A4 + A2.

5. Claim 3, depending on claim 1   
A2 (novelty claim 1) also discloses the amount of liquid. A2 misses the checking means. A2 so far seems a good candidate for the closest prior art.
The checking means plus effect are mentioned in A4 [12]. The checking means in A4 detect a drop in temperature. The cleaning in A2 also causes a drop in temperature [08]. So, this seems nicely compatible.
The checking means are also disclosed in A3 [10] for the right effect. A3 uses cameras. They only work if the cow is in the milking robot due the precise position of the cow. That is a problem because it should be suitable for use outside a milking robot. Thus an attack based on A2+A3 is not possible.

6. Claim 4 (independent)
Due to claim 4 not being tightly drafted the odd disclosure in A5 is novelty destroying. We leave it at that.

7. Claim 5(4)
A5 does not disclose the additional features of claim 5. It may be possible to get the conditioning composition out of A4 [14], but the heated nozzles are a problem. A3 discloses those but does not mention the effect given in A1 [23]. Problematic. A5 is anyhow not a great closest prior art.
Trying another closest prior art: only A3 is a realistic starting point, also relating to using a milking robot.  A3 misses using 2 liters of soaking liquid; this is disclosed in A2 for the effect mentioned in A1. A3 also misses the conditioning composition, which can be taken out of A4 [14]. This gives a partial-problems attack A3+A2+A4.

The DeltaPatents C team 
Jelle, Joeri, Nico, Sander, Tanja

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Paper C 2017 Corkscrew

Here our fast attempt to C 2017 (paper here in EN and FR):

Claim 3(2): Added Subject-matter, Art.100(c), Art.123(2), metal necessary [0014]

Effective dates:
Cl. 1, 2, 3(1),4: P1 = 08.04.2010
Cl. 5-7: P2 = 28.03.2011

List of Evidence:
A2, A3, A5, A6: Art.54(2) all claims
A4 (the fair, not the document): Art.54(2) for claims 5-7

Other attacks
Claim 1: inv. step A6+A2, cork more stable, alternative solution (no spring)
(NA5 doesn't work. ridges not helical, not cork engaging, pitch undefined)

Claim 2: I've changed this based on the discussion below.
First option: inv. step A5 + A6 + A2
Alternative: inv. step A6+A2+A5, less force/effort for cork removal
(A3 misses the effect)
Probably only one option required. Probably 1st option is preferred.

Claim 3(1): inv. step A6+A2, A6 is already PET

Claim 4: inv. step A6+A2+A3, clover shape or 3/4 lobs from A3, better grip
(T641/00 doesn't work, technical effect present)

Claim 5: Nov A4 (A2 as evidence for reduced friction)
(NA2 doesn't work, no disc, no straight portion or no spiral portion)
(NA5 doesn't work, no coating on the spiral portion)

Claim 6: inv. step A4+A2, particularly good material for reducing friction, alternative for PFC
(A5+A2 may be possible, easier insertion, weaker, A5 not CPA)
(A4+A5 does not work, A5 misses the effect)

Claim 7: inv. step A4+A2, 'lower half', 'smoother insertion' (A2 [0005]), 'expensive' (A2 [0006]), compromise between low cost and low friction
(A5+A2 may be possible, easier insertion, weaker, A5 not CPA)

Looking forward to your comments, 

Joeri Beetz, Jelle Hoekstra

(c) DeltaPatents 2017

C 2017: first impressions?

To all who sat the C-paper today:

What are your first impressions to this year's C-paper?
Any general or specific comments?

Was the number of claims as expected, or more, or less? And the number of prior art documents?
Were the various attack types well balanced - novelty, inventive step, added subject-matter, ...?
Was the described technology well understandable? For electronics/electricity attorneys, mechanics attorneys, chemists, biotech attorneys, ...?

How many marks do you expect to have scored?
What is your expectation of the pass rate and the average score?
How did this year's paper compare to the 2013 - 2016 papers (assuming your practiced those)

The paper and our answers

Copies of the paper will be provided on this blog as soon as we have received copies of the papers, in all three languages here (English, French and German).

The core of our answers will be given as soon as possible in a separate blog post.

We look forward to your comments!

Comments are welcome in any official EPO language, not just English. So, comments in German and French are also very welcome!

Please do not post your comments anonymously - it is allowed, but it makes responding more difficult and rather clumsy ("Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Anonymous of 03-03-2015 03:03"), whereas using your real name or a pseudonym is more personal, more interesting and makes a more attractive conversation. You do not need to log in or make an account - it is OK to just put your (nick) name at the end of your post.

Please post your comments as to first impressions and general remarks to this blog.
Please post responses to our answer (as soon as available) to the separate blog post with our answer.


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Comparing the committee's solution to our solution

It seems that our solution is matching the committee's solution with only the following issue.

The committee expected for claim 1 a novelty attack based on A2 and an Inventive step attack based on A3+ A4. The inventive step attack is continued for dependent claim 3 (I.S. A3+A4+A6).
We showed the same novelty attack on claim 1 and the same inventive step attack but only for dependent claim 3.

In the Examiner's report it was stated for claim 1: "An inventive step argument was also expected based on Annex 3, because in this case it is a good ground of opposition".

A situation like this where the novelty attack cannot be continued for a dependent claim and an inventive step attack is required starting from other prior art is pretty normal in the C exam.

In the move of the committee to having less attacks but more thoroughly argued ones, it had become normal since 2008 not to do the inventive step attack on the independent claim if that claim could reasonably be attacked under novelty. Candidates who already did the inventive step attack on the independent claim were only awarded marks for the attack on the dependent claims.

At this moment it is not really clear if this approach has been broken and if/how many marks candidates lost who only did the inventive step attack on claim 3(1). Hopefully the committe will clarify matters at the tutor meeting.

Here follows a quick analysis I made of the papers since 2008 for similar situations and remarks made by the committee in those years.

  • C 2008
    Cl.1 Nov A5, I.S. A4+A2
    Cl.2(1) I. S.. A4+A2
    “The same number of marks was awarded for raising the inventive step attack regardless whether claims 1 and 2 were attacked independently or together”. 
  • C 2009
    Cl.3 (indep): Nov A5, Nov A6
    Cl.5(3) I.S. A3+A5+ common general knowledge
    “An inventive step attack starting from Annex 3 as closest prior art in combination with Annex 5 was not necessary for claim 3 per se. Corresponding marks were awarded for attacks on claim 5”. 
  • C 2010
    Cl.1 Nov A4, I.S. A5+A2
    Cl.2(1) I.S. A5 + A2
    “It was expected to provide an inventive step attack using Annex 5, as closest prior art, in combination with Annex 2. If the inventive step attack on claim 1 was not provided, marks were awarded if a corresponding attack on claim 2 was made, giving appropriate arguments”. “Claim 2 has two distinguishing features over Annex 5. These can either be dealt with explicitly under claim 2 or a reference to the first difference can be made in respect to claim 1 and the additional feature (latex) being dealt with fully”. 
  • C 2012
    Cl.1 Nov.A3, Nov.A5
    Cl.2(1) I.S. A2 + A6
    Cl.3(1) I.S. A4+A5; I.S. A4 + A6
    No remarks given by the committee 
  • C 2013
    Cl. 1 Nov A5
    Cl.2(1) I.S. A3 + A2
    No remarks given by the committee 
  • C 2014
    Cl.1 Nov.A6, Nov.A4
    Cl.3(1) I.S. A3+A5; I.S. A3 + A6
    “Claim 1 Novelty attacks were expected based on Annexes 4 and 6.
    This year, a novelty attack based on Annex 4 was not straightforward based on the French text, since Annex 4 uses different terminology in relation to the resilient foam … (translation error). In view of this, in the absence of a novelty attack on claim 1, this year, an inventive step attack could be made using Annex 3 combined with Annex 5.” 
  • C 2015
    Cl.1 Nov.A2, Nov.A5, Nov.A6
    Cl.2(1) I.S. A3 + A4
    “Claim 1: An additional argumentation as to lack of inventive step of claim 1 was not expected” 

Monday, 7 March 2016

Closest prior art for Claim 3 in paper C 2016

There has been some discussion around what should be the closest prior art for Claim 3 in paper C of EQE 2016. We received attacks on Claim 3 starting from A3, A5, and A6. In this post we'll review the arguments for selecting the closest prior art in Claim 3.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Paper C 2016 - Reusable cooling device

Paper C of the EQE of 2016 provides us with an excursion into cooling devices for horses. My first impression is that this paper should be doable in the time provided. Although the number of annexes is a bit large (7), one of them quickly disappears when making the paper and another is 54(3) for most of the claims.

Below is an indication of our solution. Note that in a full solution more details need to be given.