Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Board reverses obviousness rejection in Ex parte Zha in membrane filtration case

In Ex parte Zha, the Board reversed an obviousness rejection and observed:

Contrary to the Examiner’s findings, Zha argues that none of the references “disclose or contemplate a plurality of membrane modules coupled through a single manifold to a single mixing chamber including a gas inlet passing into the mixing chamber through the manifold from above as recited in each of the independent claims.” (Br. 17; Reply Br. 6.) Zha argues that the “air pipe 3 of the Cote Provisional is not, however, ‘fed from above and through said manifold and into said chamber.’ . . . but rather enters the air box 2 from a side thereof. ” (Reply Br. 8.)

The weight of the evidence supports Zha’s argument. The Examiner’s finding that Cote or Zha ‘962 discloses a membrane filtration apparatus comprising a plurality of membrane filtration modules, a single manifold, and a single chamber in which gas is fed from above and through said manifold and into said chamber is not supported by the evidence.


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