The opinion in support of the decision being entered today was not written for
publication and is not binding precedent of the Board.






Appeal No. 2006-2005
Application No. 09/947,801




MAILED AUG 24 2006

Before THOMAS, HAIRSTON, and BLANKENSHIP, Administrative Patent Judges.
BLANKENSHIP, Administrative Patent Judge.


        This is a decision on appeal under 35 U.S.C. § 134 from the examiner's final

rejection of claims 1-5, which are all the claims in the application.

        We affirm.

Appeal No. 2006-2005
Application No. 09/947,801


        The disclosed invention relates to a distributed computing system using the

computing resources of Home Network Servers connected through the Internet, where

the owners of the Home Network Servers receive something of value in return for

access to the Home Network Servers’ otherwise unused computing resources.

(Abstract.) Claim 1 is reproduced below.

1. A distributed computing system comprising:

(a) a home network server in a subscriber's home;

(b) one or more home network client devices;

(c) an Internet connection;

 whereby the subscriber receives something of value in return for access to the
 resources of said home network server that would otherwise be unused.

         The examiner relies on the following reference:

    Ellis          6,167,428            Dec. 26, 2000
                                               (filed May 27, 1999)

    Claims 1-5 stand rejected under 35 U.S.C. § 102 as being anticipated by Ellis.

        We refer to the Final Rejection (mailed Jun. 15, 2005) and the Examiner's

Answer (mailed Jan. 24, 2006) for a statement of the examiner's position and to the

Brief (filed Nov. 17, 2005) and the Reply Brief (filed Mar. 16, 2006) for appellant's

position with respect to the claims which stand rejected.


Appeal No. 2006-2005
Application No. 09/947,801


        Based on appellant's remarks in the Brief, we select claim 1 as representative in

this appeal. We will decide the appeal on the basis of claim 1. See 37 CFR

§ 41.37(c)(1)(vii).

        Ellis describes networked computers whereby PC (personal computer) users’

connections to the Internet may be obtained at no cost, in exchange for making the PCs

available for shared processing when otherwise idle. See. e.g., Ellis at col. 11,l.55 -

col. 12,l.4. There can be no substantive dispute that Ellis discloses that a PC user

(i.e., a subscriber to a service that provides Internet access) may receive something of

value in return for access to the resources of the PC that would otherwise be unused.

        Instant claim 1 recites, however, that the subscriber receives something of value

in return for access to the resources of “said home network server’ that would otherwise

be unused. Claim 1 further recites, inter alia, “a home network server in a subscriber's

home... .“ Appellant argues that the terms in view of their most common meanings in

the art, or at least how the terms are to be interpreted in light of the instant

specification, distinguish over Ellis.

        The examiner contends that the instant specification does not set forth any

particular definition for “server” or “home network server.” The examiner submits

(Answer at 6-7), with reference to a technical dictionary definition, that “server” is

understood by the artisan to include a computer or program, on the Internet or another

network, that responds to commands from a client. For example, a “file server” may


Appeal No. 2006-2005
Application No. 09/947,801

contain an archive of data or program files such that when a client submits a request for

a file, the server transfers a copy of the file to the client. As such, the examiner finds

that the artisan would have appreciated that the PCs described by Ellis function as

clients with respect to the servers on the Internet, but function as servers when

providing resources to other entities on the Internet.

        Appellant responds (Reply Brief at 6) that the term “server” is defined differently

in the specification, which describes a “Home Network Server” (e.g., spec. [Paragraph] 14). We

find that the specification at paragraph 2 sets forth certain definitions, but not for the

terms in dispute. Upon review of the entire disclosure, we conclude that the “Home

Network Server” described embodiment does not convey a limiting definition for the

term “server,” nor that the invention is to be limited to the disclosed embodiment.

Moreover, the specification teaches ([Paragraph] 22) that the invention may be practiced without

the specific details that are disclosed.

        With respect to the examiner's proffered definition of “server,” appellant notes

that the examiner relied on the second listed definition, rather than the first. Appellant

submits, without citation to any authority, that dictionaries list the definitions of words in

the order in which they are most commonly used. The first listed definition for “server”

is, according to appellant (Reply Brief at 5): “1. On a local area network (LAN), a

computer running administrative software that controls access to the network and its

resources, such as printers and disk drives, and provides resources to computers

functioning as workstations on the network.”


Appeal No. 2006-2005
Application No. 09/947,801

        First, we note that appellant's definition of “server” appears to be limited to local

area networks and how a server may be implemented on that particular network type.

Ellis provides evidence, however, that the artisan did not consider the term “server” to

be limited to local area networks. See. e.g., Ellis at col. 22,11. 30-37 (servers operated

by Internet Service Providers).

       Second, and more important, the present inquiry relates to the broadest

reasonable interpretation of “server” consistent with the specification, rather than how

the term might be more commonly used in the art. Both the broader definition offered

by the examiner and the narrower definition offered by appellant appear to be

consistent with appellant's specification. We cannot discard the broader meaning in

favor of the narrower. Claims are to be given their broadest reasonable interpretation

during prosecution, and the scope of a claim cannot be narrowed by reading disclosed

limitations into the claim. See In re Morris, 127 F.3d 1048,1054,44 USPQ2d 1023,

1027 (Fed. Cir. 1997); In re Zletz, 893 F.2d 319, 321, 13 USPQ2d 1320, 1322 (Fed. Cir.

1989); In re Prater, 415 F.2d 1393,1404,162 USPQ 541, 550 (CCPA 1969). Our

reviewing court has repeatedly warned against confining the claims to specific

embodiments described in the specification. Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303,

1323, 75 USPQ2d 1321, 1334 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc).

        Instant claim 1 does not recite the functions of the home network server, but only

its location (i.e., in a subscriber's home). The claim is thus broad enough to cover

either of a server for a home network and a server on a home network. Appellant could


Appeal No. 2006-2005
Application No. 09/947,801

have amended the claim consistent with how appellant wants the claim to be

interpreted. “An essential purpose of patent examination is to fashion claims that are

precise, clear, correct, and unambiguous. Only in this way can uncertainties of claim

scope be removed, as much as possible, during the administrative process.” In re

Zletz F.2d 893 at 322,13 USPQ2d at 1322.

        Ellis teaches that the PCs that provide processing power may reside on home

network systems (e.g., col. 17,11. 22-40). Given the examiner's broad but reasonable

interpretation of instant claim 1, Ellis provides support for the examiner's finding of


        Moreover, Ellis at column 8, line 59 through column 9, line 20 describes the

types of computers that may be considered PCs in the context of the disclosure. The

personal computers are described as including “network computers,” which would seem

to include both of conventional server and client computers on the home network

systems described elsewhere in Ellis. In this regard, we note that appellant's disclosed

Home Network Server 101 is “of conventional design.” (Spec. [Paragraph] 23.)

        While Ellis is not purported to teach providing the processing services of PC

servers for home network systems to the exclusion of PC clients on the systems, we

observe that instant claim 1 does not preclude access to the resources of client PCs on

a home network.


Appeal No. 2006-2005
Application No. 09/947,801

        We have considered all of appellant's arguments in the briefs, but are not

persuaded that instant claim 1 has been rejected in error. We thus sustain the rejection

of claims 1-5 under 35 U.S.C. § 102 as being anticipated by Ellis.


        The rejection of claims 1-5 under 35 U.S.C. § 102 is affirmed.

        No time period for taking any subsequent action in connection with this appeal

may be extended under 37 CFR § 1.136(a). See 37 CFR § 1.136(a)(1)(iv).



JAMES D. THOMAS                                )
Administrative Patent Judge                   )
                                                                    )  BOARD OF PATENT
KENNETH W. HAIRSTON                       )  APPEALS
Administrative Patent Judge                   )  AND
                                                                    )  INTERFERENCES
HOWARD B. BLANKENSHIP                 )
Administrative Patent Judge                   )


Appeal No. 2006-2005
Application No. 09/947,801

RENO, NV 89521-7430