In Re Orbital Technologies Corporation


Docket No. 2014-1298, -1299

REYNA, CLEVENGER, WALLACH
January 20, 2015

Non-precedential

Brief Summary: Orbital found to have waived claims arising from the examiner’s use of the translation when it did not accept his offer to reopen examination. Machine-translated JP reference found acceptable here, although this may not always be the case, “especially in cases involving technologies more complex than the marine habitats at issue here”.

Summary: Orbital appealed PTAB affirmance of examiner’s rejection of its claims relating to “combination marine habitat and light system[s]” (U.S. Pat. Nos. 7,220,018B2 and RE90/011,865) as obvious based on a machine translation of a Japanese patent reference. The translation was not provided to Orbital before the close of reexamination and the rejections. The FC panel concluded that Orbital waived claims arising from the examiner’s use of the translation when it did not accept his offer to reopen examination. It also found the PTAB did not err in finding the claims would have been obvious because one of ordinary skill in the art would have been motivated by another reference’s “teaching that LED lights are more energy-efficient than fluorescent bulbs.” Orbital also argued that the “Machine Translation’s poor quality, untranslated words, and accuracy disclaimer render it insufficient evidence”. The PTO found that, while “there may well be cases where machine translations of the quality shown in this case are inadequate evidence of a reference’s content” (“especially in cases involving technologies more complex than the marine habitats at issue here”) and the FC panel agreed (“[w]ithout blessing the of machine translations in all cases”). 

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