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Rothwell Figg Client Wins Appeal Decision Resulting in Issuance of Patent Awarded Over 8 ½ Years of Added Term

June 10, 2016

On June 7, 2016, the United States Patent & Trademark Office granted U.S. Patent No. 9,360,249, entitled “Gas Conditioning Process for the Recovery of LPG/NGL (C2+) from LNG” to Rothwell Figg client IHI E&C International Corporation (“IHI E&C”), a Houston-based engineering, procurement and construction firm. Due to the long delay in issuance of the patent, the Office awarded 3,127 days of additional term after the Patent Trial & Appeal Board reversed the examiner’s rejections.

The Appeal was initiated on August 27, 2012 and an oral hearing was held on October 23, 2015 during which Rothwell Figg attorney Aydin H. Harston successfully argued that the five grounds of rejection should be reversed because it was based on impermissible hindsight. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board agreed, stating that “we find no basis other than Appellant's own disclosure for [the examiner’s] reasoning and conclude that such reasoning is based on hindsight.” December 30, 2015 Decision on Appeal (Appeal 2013-006526, Appl. 10/585,970).

IHI E&C’s issued patent relates to a method for recovery of liquefied petroleum gas or natural gas liquids from liquefied natural gas and producing a desired mixture of conditioned lean liquefied natural gas and unconditioned rich liquefied natural gas.

IHI E&C was represented in this case by Rothwell Figg attorneys George R. Repper and Aydin H. Harston.