Before Mayer, Chief Judge, Newman and Gajarsa, Circuit Judges.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Newman, Circuit Judge.
Appealed from: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Creg W. Dance, John V. Hoek, and Victor R. Blackledge (collectively "Dance") appeal the decision of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences *fn1 rejecting claims 33 and 35-37 of United States Patent application Serial No. 08/162,572, entitled "Vascular Occlusion Removal Devices and Methods." We affirm the Board's decision.
The subject matter sought to be patented is a catheter for removing an obstruction such as a thrombus in a blood vessel. Figure 2 of the Dance application depicts an embodiment:
In operation, the head of the device is rotated in the vicinity of the obstruction, and fluid is supplied through the catheter tube, whereby structure just behind the head generates turbulence to break up or erode the obstruction. The debris of the obstruction is removed by aspiration through the catheter. Referring to Figure 2, drive cable 14 is attached to catheter head 16 and rapidly rotates the head. Turbulence generating means such as facets, impellers or flats 26 are located at the neck 25 of head 16. Ports 28 direct fluid supplied by the operator to the zone of turbulence. The operator aspirates fluid and debris through aspiration port 21.
Figure 16 of the application is described by Dance as the preferred embodiment, encompassed by dependent claims 36 and 37 *fn2 :
In this embodiment the head 16 is rotated, and fluids to aid in the dissolution course through header 110 to fluid output ports 46. A guide wire is shown at 100.
"Claim 33 is representative: 33. A catheter for removing an obstruction in a body vessel comprising: a flexible, tubular sleeve having distal and proximal ends, said sleeve having extending substantially coaxially therethrough so as to project therefrom; drive means, said drive means being flexible and rotatable, having fixedly mounted on its projecting end; head means, said head means comprising a bulbous head, said head being mounted on said drive means so as to be rotated thereby, said head means further including; turbulence generating means, said catheter further comprising; means for delivering fluid proximate to the distal end of said sleeve, and means for recovering fluid and debris from proximate the proximal end of said sleeve."
The examiner rejected the claims as obvious over Kensey, U.S. Patent No. 4,747,821, in view of Sullivan, U.S. Patent No. ...