Examiner reversed in Ex parte KUDELA
Because a claim term should be construed consistently wherever it appears in a patent or application’s claims, see, e.g., Rexnord Corp. v. Laitram Corp., 274 F.3d 1336, 1342 (Fed. Cir. 2001); CVI/Beta Ventures, Inc. v. Tura LP, 112 F.3d 1146, 1159 (Fed. Cir. 1997) (“[W]e are obliged to construe the term ‘elasticity’ consistently throughout the claims.”), we determine that the term “coupled” as used in the ’029 application’s claims means “joined” or “connected.”
The ’029 application’s independent claims use the phrase “directly coupled.” Based on our review of the ’029 application’s Specification, we conclude that a person of ordinary skill in the art would have understood the adverb “directly” as having been used in its normal sense of meaning “in immediate physical contact.” See Directly, MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/directly (last visited Dec. 17, 2013).
Accordingly, we construe the phrase “directly coupled” as meaning “joined by immediate physical contact.” Each of the ’029 application’s independent claims, therefore, requires that the RF choke have a plurality of ferrite disks joined or connected to a metallic gas feed tube by immediate physical contact. For the reasons set forth below, we determine that the Examiner’s finding that the combination of Sorensen and Hettiger describes or suggests an RF choke with such as structure is incorrect.