Thursday, 28 February 2019

EQE Paper B 2019 - Cooking with solar radiation


EQE Paper B of 2019 concerned cooking using concentrated solar radiation. Candidates needed to evaluate carefully amendments suggested by the client, to see if they were novel/inventive and supported by the application. 

The claims as filed and as amended by the client had several problems for which the candidates had to find solutions. The comments below are not a full response to the office action, but give an indication of the problems that had to be solved. 

Claim 1 in the application as filed is not novel over D1. The client has suggested to add that the storage unit contains a salt composition, but this claim seems to be not inventive over the combination of D1 and D2. Putting the pot of D2 on the cooker of D1 seems an obvious combination, and would fall under this suggested claim. So more is needed. Fortunately, the client already remarks that it is the melting of the salt that is important. Since melting of salt does not occur in the combination of D1 and D2, this further addition seems to solve the problems. The addition is supported by section [0009]. 

New claim 1 is novel over D3 since D3 does not disclose cooking food.

The closest prior art for claim 1 is D1 since it is the only document that discloses a process for cooking with solar radiation. 

Claim 2 in the application as filed is not novel over D2 and D3. Furthermore, the Examiner objected to a lack of essential features. The client's amendments do not complete solve these problems. Adding that there is an empty space is not enough; D2 also has empty space in the form of gaps between the salt. The application adds that the empty space should be dimensioned to allow the salt to expand upon melting. This is supported by sections [010] and [013].

The other amendment in claim 2 is needed to make the claim novel over D3. However, the range is not supported by the application, since the end point 120 is not disclosed. Instead of the point 120, the point 130 is disclosed. Accordingly, a better range is to use 130-350. This will be sufficient for the goals of the client according to his letter.

One could wonder if it is allowed under A.123(2) to restrict a range on the basis of an isolated value given as an example. The guidelines do not give this particular example, but in part H-IV, 2.4 a somewhat similar example is given with two ranges instead of with a range and an isolated value. The case law book does give this particular scenario, in II-E, 1.3.2. The case law cited there, e.g., T201/83 require an additional test, namely that the  'this value was not so closely associated with the other features of the example as to determine the effect of that embodiment of the invention as a whole'. Here that is not the case. We conclude that restricting the range to 130-350 does not constitute added subject matter. 

Conceivably, one could disclaim the salt 'magnesium chloride hexahydrate' instead of adding a range to claim 2. This would be allowed under G 2/10 since it disclaims a disclosed embodiment. This seems to run counter the wishes of the client though. 

The closest prior art for new claim 2 seems to be D2. Only document D1 and D2 are related to cooking, but the latter has more features in common. 


Claim 4 and 5 were switched around by the client. This switch appears to be supported by the application as filed. The embodiment of figure 3 of the application has handles with which unit 3 can be transported, an so it is portable.


The claims for our solution for paper B 2019 are as follows: 

1. A cooking process including the steps:
providing a heat storage unit (3) containing a salt composition (6);
concentrating solar radiation (12) onto the heat storage unit (3) to heat it and to melt the salt composition; and
cooking food (8) placed on the heat storage unit (3).

2. A heat storage unit (3) for use in the process of claim 1, characterised bycomprising:
a box (4) having heat-insulating walls and an opening,
the box (4) containing a salt composition (6),
a light-absorbing plate (5) fitted in the opening and in thermal contact with the salt
composition (6), and
a cooking surface (9) in thermal contact with the salt composition (6),
characterized
in that:
the box (4) contains an empty space (7) dimensioned to allow the salt composition to expand upon melting, and in that
the salt composition (6) has a melting temperature from 130C to 350C
.

3. Heat storage unit according to claim 2, wherein the cooking surface (9) is a surface of a cooking plate (2) fitted in a second opening of the box (4) and in thermal contact with the salt composition (6).

45. Heat storage unit according to claim 2, wherein the cooking surface (9) is a surface of the light-absorbing plate (5).

54. Heat storage unit according to any of claims 2 or to 34, wherein the heat storage unit (3) is portable by means of handles (10).

6. A solar cooker (1) comprising:
a heat storage unit (3) according to any of claims 2 to 5;
a parabolic mirror (11) for concentrating solar radiation (12) on the light-absorbing plate (5) of the heat storage unit (3).







Thursday, 1 March 2018

Paper B 2018 Fuse for protecting an electronic circuit

Below a short answer to start the discussion.

The DeltaPatents team,

Jelle, Jessica, Nico.

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Brief explanation

Client's letter

“Our invention has the advantage that the quality score (Q) of the fuse is much improved”. In draft claim 1 two ‘measures’ are introduced:
- cover layer covering the fuse track
- quality score is at least 60.


Description:

[002]: Two categories: fuses for low-sensitivity electronic components and fuses for high-sensitivity components.

[011] To protect low-sensitivity electronic components quality score Q should be greater than 30. To protect high-sensitivity electronic components quality score Q should be greater than 60.

First conclusion: client wants to provide a fuse for protecting high-sensitivity electronic components [= field].

[009] makes clear that the high quality score is a parameter determined according to an in-house protocol which is not specified in detail. Such a parameter may not be used. It also indicates that a high Q value indicates a low degree of metal reflow.

[004] makes clear that blowing of the fuse should be irreversible. Metal reflow endangers this.

[005] Aim of the invention is to provide a fuse which overcomes that problem.

The purpose is thus to provide an irreversible fuse for high-sensitivity electronic components which avoid/overcome reflow issues.

[005] (part of the solution) using a fuse track formed of AlCu.

Table 1, table 2, [011]: to have Q above 60 we need that the metal of the fuse track is AlCu alloy having a content of Cu in the range of 10-20% by weight and a cover layer made of epoxy resin.

This should be introduced in claim 1 replacing the quality score. It makes original claim 4 redundant.

The cover layer is part of the second embodiment described in [008] for Fig.2. The neck portion is optional and does not need to be incorporated into claim 1 (allowable intermediate generalisation with respect original claim 3.

[012] gives a nice definition of ‘smooth surface’ referring to Ra, better than the active formulation proposed by the client. This should be introduced in original claim 5.

Closest prior art:

Field: high quality fuse for protecting high-sensitivity electronic components

Purpose: provide an irreversible fuse which avoids/overcomes reflow issues

Structurally close: fuse track of AlCu alloy

D1: uses AlCu alloy with 15% Cu by weight, no protective cover. According to table 1: not high quality, not suitable for high-sensitivity electronic components. No further measure to deal with reflow. Conclusion: not close.

D2: Is irreversible (thus high quality), but solves the problem rather differently – not structurally close. The fuse is covered by glass causing an explosion. Reflow issues are thus avoided. Walls are needed to avoid that metal sprays from the fuse to the circuit. Seems not great for high-sensitivity circuits. Conclusion: not close.

D3: uses an AlCu fuse track and focusses on dealing with metal reflow [01]. Close in field and purpose. Structurally close enough.

Conclusion: go for D3 as the closest prior art.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Our attempt at Paper B 'Monitoring vital signs'

Herewith our attempt at Paper B 2017, which is available here: ENFR and DE

Claims
1. System for monitoring at least one vital sign of a human body, the system comprising:

-        holding attaching means (1, 11, 21) for holding attaching an optical sensor (2, 12, 22) and a motion sensor (3, 13, 23) close to the human body (10, 21), the holding attaching means (1, 11, 21) comprising in addition to the sensors (2, 12, 22, 3, 13, 23) transmitting means (4, 14, 24) for transmitting output signals from the sensors (2, 12, 22, 3, 13, 23),
-        evaluation means (5, 25) for receiving the output signals and calculating from the output signals the at least one vital sign,
characterised in that the attaching means is a garment,
and in that the evaluation means (5, 25) is configured to correct the output signal from the optical sensor (2, 12, 22) based on the output signal of the motion sensor (3, 13, 23) or to correct the output signal from the motion sensor (3, 13, 23) based on the output signal of the optical sensor
and in that the transmitting means (4, 14, 24) is a wireless transmitting means.

2. System according to claim 1, wherein the transmitting means (4, 14, 24) is a wireless transmitting meansat least one vital sign is pulse, body temperature, blood pressure and/or blood oxygen saturation.

3. System according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the wireless transmitting means (4, 14, 24) is a wireless local network emitter.

4. System according to any of claims 1 to 3, further comprising a screen (6) and configured to display the at least one vital sign on the screen.

5. System according to any of claims 1 to 4, wherein the holding means is an attaching means (1, 11) is one of such as a sock (1), or a wristband (11), and a glove.

6. System according to any of claims 1 to 3, wherein the attaching means is a headband (21) for goggles (20).

76. System according to any of claims 1 to 65, wherein the attaching means (1, 11, 21) is at least partly made of Optitexa material comprising 50-60% cotton, 30-40% polyurethane and 10-20% polyethylene glycol in % by weight.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

B 2017: first impressions of the first one-for-all B-paper?

To all who sat the B-paper today:

What are your first impressions to this year's B-paper?
Any general or specific comments?
Surprising elements in the client's letter and the prior art?

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 mock paper?
Similar difficulty level?
Did it meet expectations, in view of the video about the one-for-all A and B papers, the mock B paper and its examiners report?
Could you understand the examiner's objections? And the client's wishes based on his letter and his proposed amendments? Was the Art.123(2) argumentation difficult, if any? Clarity? Novelty? Closest prior art selection, distinguishung feature, effect, objective technical problem, and the rest of the inventive step argumentation?

Was the subject-matter well understandable, for chemists as well as e/m candidates?

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 (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 09-03-2017 09:09"), 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.
Thanks!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Examination Papers A and B – Examination Board made mock papers available

With effect from 2017, a single Paper A and a single Paper B will be set each year. As for current Paper C and the Pre-Examination, Papers A and B will be set in technical fields that are accessible to everyone. The Examination Board has made  mock papers available for Paper A (examiner report) and Paper B (examiner report). The examiner reports are currently available in English only.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Paper B Electricity Mechanics 2016 - our claims

Here it is: our claims and a brief explanation.


Claim 1.  Warning system for a driveway crossing (3, 13), comprising:
  • a control unit (5),
  • a pavement sensor (7, 8, 17) connected to the control unit (5) and configured tom detect pedestrians on a pavement (2, 12) approaching the driveway crossing (3, `13),
  • a first display means (6, 16) connected to the control unit (5),

the control unit (5) being configured so that the first display means (6, 16) gives the warning signal to the driver of a vehicle in the driveway (1, 16) in response to the output of the pavement sensor (7, 8, 17),
characterised in that:
  • the system further comprises  a driveway sensor (4, 14) connected to the control unit (5) and configured to detect a vehicle in the driveway (1, 11) approaching the driveway crossing (3, 13); and
  • the control unit (5) being configured to activate the pavement sensor (7, 8, 17) in response to the output of the driveway sensor (4, 14)

Basis:  original claim 1, further limited based on:
  • Claim 2: the system further comprises  a driveway sensor (4, 14) and configured to detect a vehicle in the driveway (1, 11) approaching the driveway crossing (3, 13)
  • Claim 4: also depended on claim 2): [driveway sensor is] connected to the control unit (5); the control unit (5) being configured to activate the pavement sensor (7, 8, 17) in response to the output of the driveway sensor (4, 14).
    This is also clear from [012], wherein a warning pole is described comprising such a warning system (see [005]). In lines 24-28 the now introduced feature is described.

Not taking over the second display means of claim 2 is an allowable intermediate generalisation:
The description in [008] introduces the driveway sensor. In [009] it shows a first use of the driveway sensor, being to warn pedestrians that a vehicle is exiting from the driveway. For this function the second display means is required.
However, [009] 1st sentence indicates that the second display means is preferred; thus optional. In [011] and [012] it becomes clear what a second, unrelated, function of the driveway sensor is: to ensure that the pavement sensor is activated only when the driveway sensor detects a vehicle, saving electricity. For this function no display is required. Thus indeed the second display means is optional and not mandatory to be used for the driveway sensor [not structurally and functionally linked such that they can only be used in combination].

Claim 2. Warning system according to claim 1, comprising a second display means (9) configured to warn pedestrians on the pavement (2, 120) that a vehicle is exiting from the driveway (1,11).
Basis: remainder of original claim 2, dependency unchanged.

Claim 3.  Warning system according to any of the previous claims, wherein the first display means is an LCD screen and the control unit (5) is an integral component of the LCD screen (6).
Basis: original claim 3, properly introducing the LCD screen, overcoming clarity objection (Art.84) raised under item 3 of the communication.
Reason for not broadening to ‘first display means’ is that the control unit being an integral component is only shown for an LCD screen (see [008], line 15). In real life we expect this generalisation not to have been problematic, but not having any own knowledge of the field there may not be enough basis for a generalisation.

Original claim 4: incorporated into claim 1.

Claim 4. Warning system according to any of the previous claims, characterised by the first display means being a traffic light, the system being configured so that the red light of the traffic light indicates the detection of a pedestrian on the pavement.
Basis: [010]
Note: not taken over is a dependency only on the preamble of claim 1; this would result into two separate, non-unitary inventions. Claim 5 proposed by the client relates arguably not to searched subject-matter.
Also avoiding introducing a clarity issue in the client’s claim of whether the traffic light is additional or is in place of the first display means.
Also avoiding a clarity issue of whether the driveway is claimed.

Claim 5. Warning pole (20) comprising a warning system according to claim 1.
Basis: [005], [012]

Note: ‘preferably’ has been scrapped. Only referring back to claim 1, since the pole is not shown in combination with the features of claims 2-4.

Looking forward to your comments,
All blog threads allow anyone to add comments and already have a lot of valuable, interesting and sometimes surprising discussions between many candidates who posted their comments as well as tutors resulted from those.Any remarks, (different) opinions and questions as are welcome! Please post your contribution as comments to this blog, so everybody can paticipate in and benefit from the discussion/ explanation.
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 02-03-2016 14:56"), whereas using your real name or even a pseudonym (nick-name) is more personal, more interesting and makes a more attractive conversation

Jelle, Sander, Tanja

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

B-Electricity/Mechanics 2016: First impressions?


To all who sat the B-paper today:

What are your first impressions to this year's B-paper?
Any general or specific comments?
Surprising elements in the client's letter, client's claims proposal or EPO communication?

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 2014 and 2015 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 [available], 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 05-05-2015 05:05"), 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.
Thanks!

Sander, Jelle, Nico