WHIPgroup successfully appealed rejections of a patent application directed to a surgical system. The system includes a hollow shaft and a shaft-type instrument that is secured within the hollow shaft in a manner to provide a rinsing area for transmitting liquid agents. The Examiner had rejected the claims as allegedly being obvious over a combination of two references. On Appeal, WHIPgroup argued that several claimed elements were missing in the prior art and that one reference taught away from configuring a rinsing area between the interior surface of a hollow shaft and the exterior surface of an instrument. The reference specifically disclosed a distal window sealing an instrument lumen to prevent exposure of an instrument to bodily fluids, thereby discouraging the need for a rinsing area. The PTAB was convinced by WHIPgroup’s arguments and reversed the Examiner’s rejections. Issuance of a patent containing all pending claims is expected in due course.
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