Ex parte Bieman

Decision Date15 September 2006
Docket NumberApplication 09/111,Appeal 2004-0659,978
PartiesEx parte LEONARD H. BIEMAN Technology Center 2800
CourtPatent Trial and Appeal Board

Ex parte LEONARD H. BIEMAN Technology Center 2800

Appeal 2004-0659

Application 09/111, 978 [1]

United States Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board

September 15, 2006


This Opinion is Not binding Precedent of the Board

ORAL HEARING: June 27, 2006

Before GARRIS, JERRY SMITH, RUGGIERO, GROSS, and MacDONALD, Administrative Patent Judges.[2]

DECISION ON APPEAL UNDER 35 U.S.C. § 134

PER CURIAM

AFFIRMED

A. INTRODUCTION

1. This is in response to Appellant's Request for Rehearing[3] of a Decision on Appeal (the decision) of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (the Board) mailed March 31, 2005, wherein the Board affirmed the Examiner's rejections of claims 30 through 85.

2. The reissue application on appeal seeks to reissue U.S. Patent 5, 646, 733, issued July 8, 1997, based on application 08/593, 095, filed January 29, 1996.

3. The reissue application contains claims 1 through 85.

4. Claims 30 through 85 have been rejected under 35 U.S.C. § 251 on the grounds that these claims seek to recapture subject matter surrendered when the patent sought to be reissued was granted.

5. Appellant filed an Appeal Brief on May 6, 2002, and an Amended Appeal Brief (hereafter, the Brief) on March 17, 2003, fully replacing the earlier filed Appeal Brief.

6. Claims 30 through 85, reproduced in Appendix B (the claim appendix) of the Brief, are the claims on appeal before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (hereafter, the Board).

7. On March 31, 2005, the Board mailed a Decision on Appeal (hereafter, the Decision), affirming the examiner's rejection of claims 30 through 85.

8. Appellant filed a Request for Rehearing of the Decision on May 31, 2005.

9. The panel was expanded to a five judge panel.

10. Appellant was offered and accepted an opportunity for a new oral argument before the expanded panel.

11. In view of the second oral hearing and the modification of the original decision by the addition of opinions with new rationales presented infra, we designate this a new decision. See 37 CFR 41.52(a).

B. FINDINGS OF FACT

The following findings of fact are believed to be supported by a preponderance of the evidence.

THE INVENTION

1. The invention relates to the non-invasive three-dimensional measurement of surface contours using technology such as moiré technology with a novel approach that allows continuous scanning of a surface (U.S. Patent 5, 646, 733, at Col. 3, lines 24-27).

2. The invention can be understood by reference to Figures 1 and 2 of the drawings, which are reproduced in Appendix 1 of this opinion.

3. FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a machine vision system 10 including an optical head 12 for carrying out the method and system of the present invention (Col. 2, lines 65-67).

4. FIG. 2 is a schematic view illustrating the details of a first embodiment of the optical head 12 of FIG. 1 (Col. 3, lines 1-2).

5. The system 10 provides high speed, scanning phase measuring of an object 14 at a vision station 16 to develop dimensional information such as height information of a surface 18 of the object 14 (Col. 3, lines 17-21).

6. The object 14 moves relative to the optical head 12 as indicated by arrow 20 (Col. 3, lines 21-23).

7. The system 10 also includes a system bus 26, which receives information from an image digitizer/frame grabber 22 and passes the information on to an IBM compatible host computer such as a Pentium PC 28 (Col. 3, lines 40-43).

8. The frame grabber 22 places each input image into a frame buffer having picture elements (Col. 3, lines 36-37).

9. Each of the picture elements may consist of an 8-bit number representing the brightness of that spot in the image (Col. 3, lines 37-39).

10. A monitor 34 is also provided to display images (Col. 4, line 9).

11. The system 10 may include input/output circuits 30 to allow the system 10 to communicate with one or more external peripheral devices such as a drive 31 or robots, programmable controllers, etc. having one or more stages (Col. 3, lines 44-47).

12. With reference to Fig. 1, U.S. Patent 5, 464, 733 states (emphasis added):

The drive 31 provides relatively uniform and continuous movement between the object 14 and the head 12. The I/O circuits 30 may support a three-axis stepper board (i.e. supports multiple axis control) or other motion boards. (Col. 3, lines 48-52)

13. With reference to Fig. 2, U.S. Patent 5, 464, 733 states (emphasis added):

[A] camera of the optical head 12 preferably includes a solid-state image sensor such as a tri-linear array camera 24. For example, the camera 24 may be the Kodak CCD chip model KLI-2103 which has 3 rows of detector or sensing elements 25 each having 2098 CCD sensing elements per row. Each row is physically separated by a distance equivalent to 8 pixel elements. The camera 24 was originally designed for color scanning with a red, green, and blue color mask over each element, respectively. For the present invention, the masks are not used but rather are removed. (Col. 3, lines 53-63)

14. Referring again to Fig. 2, U.S. Patent 5, 464, 733 states (emphasis added):

[G]enerally, multiple images with different phases are obtained by moving the surface 18 of the object 14 while keeping a pattern 36 projected by a light strip projector 38 and the camera 24 stationary with respect to each other within the optical head 12. The optical head 12 (i.e. when the system 10 is a scanning moiré system) has no mechanical or optical mechanism that changes the position of the projected pattern 36. To obtain multiple phase images there is relative movement between the optical head 12 and the measured surface 18. (Col. 4, lines 10-19)

15. Referring once again to Fig. 2, U.S. Patent 5, 464, 733 states (emphasis added):

Using the tri-linear array camera 24 for scanning produces three images of the scanned surface 18 with each image being offset by a certain number of rows. This offset is a function of the spacing between arrays and the rate at which the image of the surface 18 is moved past the sensing elements 25. (Col. 4 lines 33-38)

PROSECUTION HISTORY OF THE ORIGINAL APPLICATION

16. As noted earlier, the patent sought to be reissued was based on application 08/593, 095, filed January 29, 1996 ("original application").

17. As filed, the original application contained claims 1 through 27. Claims 1 and 14 were independent claims (reproduced below). Claims 2 through 13 and 15 through 27 depended therefrom, respectively.

18. Claim 1 as originally filed read as follows:

Claim 1 (as filed). A method for high speed, scanning phase measuring of an object at a vision station to develop physical information associated with the object, the method comprising the steps of:

projecting a pattern of imagable electromagnetic radiation with at least one projector
moving the object relative to the at least one projector at the vision station to scan the projected pattern of electromagnetic radiation across a surface of the object to generate an imagable electromagnetic radiation signal
receiving the imagable electromagnetic radiation signal from the surface of the object with a detector having a plurality of separate detector elements;
maintaining the at least one projector and the detector in fixed relation to each other;
measuring an amount of radiant energy in the received electromagnetic radiation signal with the detector wherein the detector elements produce images having different phases of the same scanned surface based on the measurement; and
computing phase values and amplitude values for the different phases from the multiple images.

19. Claim 14 as originally filed read as follows:

Claim 14 (as filed). A system for high speed, scanning phase measuring of an object at a vision station to develop physical information associated with the object, the system including:

at least one projector for projecting a pattern of imagable electromagnetic radiation;
means for moving the object relative to the at least one projector at the vision station to scan the projected pattern of imagable electromagnetic radiation across a surface of the object to generate an imagable electromagnetic radiation signal;
a detector for receiving the imagable electromagnetic radiation signal from the surface of the object and having a plurality of separate detector elements for measuring an amount of radiant energy in the imagable electromagnetic radiation signal wherein the detector elements produce images having different phases of the same scanned surface based on the measurement;
means for maintaining the at least one projector and the detector in fixed relation to each other; and
means for computing phase values and amplitude values for the different phases from the images.

20. On August 13, 1996, the examiner entered a first Office action, rejecting claims 1 through 27 under 35 U.S.C. § 103 as being unpatentable over the following prior art:

(1) Kuchel, U.S. Patent 5, 135, 308 in view of
(2) Bullock et al. (Bullock), U.S. Patent 5, 488, 478.

21. Kuchel and Bullock are prior art vis-à-vis applicant under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) and 35 U.S.C. § 102(e) respectively.

22. The examiner found that Kuchel describes "a method for non-contact measuring of [an] object surface."

23. However, the examiner found that "Kuchel does not teach the step of moving the object relative to [a] projector."

24. The examiner further found that Bullock shows, in the same field of endeavor, moving the object while measuring its shape.

25. The examiner noted:

Kuchel discloses a method and apparatus for non-contact measuring of object surface in which the gratings (G1 and G2) are moving and the measured object is fixed. Kuchel does not teach the step of moving the object relative to
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