Monday, January 13, 2014

Playtex loses in re-exam of US 6,890,324

The PTAB decision in the appeal of re-exam 95/001,654 of the Playtex patent US 6,890,324 was mixed:

For the above reasons, we REVERSE the Examiner's decision to
reject claims 14, 15, and 17 as anticipated by Paul; claim 16 as unpatentable
over Paul and Dohzono; and claim 36 under 35 U.S.C. §305 as enlarging the scope of the claims being reexamined. Further, we AFFIRM the Examiner's decision to reject claims 29 under 35 U.S.C. §305; claims 1-15, 17-27, 30- 32, 34, and 37 as unpatentable over Lichstein and Paul; and claims 14, 16, 29, and 36 as unpatentable over Lichstein, Paul, and Dohzono.

Claim 14 of US '324 recited:

A tampon applicator comprising:

a barrel for housing [adapted to house] a pledget therein
and for receiving [to receive] a plunger therein, said barrel having a central body for housing said pledget and a fingergrip area for [adapted to] partially housing [house] and engaging [engage] said plunger, said fingergrip area having at least one convex gripping surface, said at least one convex gripping surface having at least one gripping structure other than a plurality of ribs or treads,
wherein said fingergrip area has a [reduced diameter relative to said barrel] first diameter at said central body and a second diameter at an end that engages said plunger, said second diameter being smaller than said first diameter, said fingergrip area tapering in a single direction from said first diameter to said second diameter,
wherein said at least one convex gripping surface and said at least one gripping structure provide gripping ability to overcome ejection forces applied to said barrel by said pledget and/or said plunger.

PTAB determined that claim 14 was not anticipated but was obvious, and thus invalid.


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