Success in the Green Initiative

June 12, 2014

A group of Norwegian chemists working for a large global company discovered a novel catalyst for the selective decomposition of nitrous oxide (N2O) without significant destruction of nitric oxide (NO). Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas which depletes atmospheric ozone and is considered a major air pollutant with large global warming potential. Accordingly, the selective decomposition of nitrous oxide is an important global environmental discovery.

The catalyst discovered by Applicant solved a long standing problem in the fertilizer industry, by considerably alleviating the greenhouse footprint of synthetic fertilizers. Applicant received much attention and recognition in the field for this technological achievement. In particular, the catalyst won Norway’s prestigious environmental prize, The Glass Bear, which is awarded by the Norwegian Foundation for Sustainable Consumption and Production.

During our prosecution of two patent applications to cover this critical technology, the USPTO repeatedly set forth obviousness rejections, based on a misunderstanding of the complex technology. After successfully obtaining a patent to a particular catalyst, Wenderoth continued to work for our client to obtain the broader coverage to which they were entitled. Expert Declarations by inventors, together with detailed scientific reasoning and analysis were provided for the Examiner’s consideration. Ultimately, it was necessary to appeal the application to the Board of Patent Trial and Appeals. Upon review, the Board reversed each of the Examiner’s rejections, agreeing with Wenderoth that the preponderance of the evidence fell in the Applicant’s favor.