Motion Sensor Activated Rock Light

Is a Motion Sensor Activated Rock Light patentable? See US application serial No. 10/355,389. The Patent Appeals Board answered no, in Ex parte KRAUSE (decided July 14, 2008). The claim applied for was as follows:

1. An apparatus comprising:

A translucent housing having the appearance of an article that is an element of nature; a base to which the housing is sealed and in which there is an access panel; a light source located within the housing powered by at least one replaceable battery which acts as a power source and a motion detector adapted to be coupled to the power source and to the light source for switching power to the light source when it detects motion.

The prior art relied upon by the Examiner in rejecting this claim, 3 references:

All the references together had all of the claimed elements. Fung had the transparent covering, and the motion sensor. O’Connel had a lighted rock. Fan had the access panel and Samen had the battery. All the elements of the separate references were united without any change in their respective functions. None of the benefits of the claimed device was recited in the claims. While the Specification may extol the virtues of Appellant’s invention, the Appeals Board evaluates the claim language alone to determine the propriety of the rejection.

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