Relying on patent figures to interpret patent claims
Appellants also argue that the Examiner may not use Becker’s
relationships between the various components which are clearly depicted in those drawings. See, e.g., Vas-Cath Inc. v. Mahurkar, 935 F.2d 1555, 1565 (Fed. Cir 1991). The Examiner merely relies on Figure 2 for its description of the relative sizes and relationships among the three chambers shown in the figure. The Examiner does not rely on “precise proportions” shown in Becker’s Figure 2. Instead, the Examiner finds that the figure discloses a middle chamber that is shorter than the side chambers. We agree that Becker’s Figure 2 discloses this relationship to a skilled artisan, and thus the Examiner’s reliance on the figure is permitted. In re Aslanian, 590 F.2d 911, 914 (C.C.P.A. 1979).
Appellants argue that the Examiner erred in finding that Becker’s Figure 1 discloses the claimed length ratios of claims 18 and 20. Reply
Separately, of the appellants trying to import limitations from the specification into the claims -->
Appellants argue in response that the recitation of “substantially less” in claims 1 and 21 and “substantially greater distance” in claim 12 distinguish these claims from the container illustrated in Becker’s Figure 2. Reply Br. 2-3. Appellants contend that a skilled artisan understands “substantially” as claimed to mean “considerable in value, degree, amount or extent.” Id. at 3 (citing American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company). Appellants then attempt to quantify “considerable in value” by referring to the Specification, which discloses multi-chambered containers in which the middle chamber is “about two-thirds to about three-quarters” of the length of “either or both side chambers.” Reply Br. 3. The Specification describes this range of length ratios as being desirable. See, e.g., Spec., para. . However, independent claims 1, 12, and 21 do not recite these ratios.
in the claims themselves.” Flo Healthcare Solutions, LLC v. Kappos, 697 F.3d 1367, 1375 (Fed. Cir. 2012). Therefore, we decline to import this range of ratios from the Specification into claims 1, 12, and 21.