“Product-by-process” chain

T642 / 14: “product-by-process” chain

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The subject of the patent was a process for the manufacture of epichlorohydrin comprising a step of dehydrochlorinating a dichloropropanol produced from glycerol, itself obtained from renewable raw materials during the manufacture of biodiesel.

The Board notes that the steps for the preparation of dichloropropanol are not technical features of the claimed process. The latter is not a multi-step process comprising the steps of preparing glycerol, then dichloropropanol, and finally epichlorohydrin. The steps for preparing glycerol and dichloropropanol only serve to define the starting material of the claimed process (dichloropropanol) and can only have an impact on novelty to the extent that they inevitably confer a particular structure or property on the product. starting material used.

In addition, the process for obtaining the starting material is not limited in terms of reaction conditions, which can therefore include any separation and purification steps. For the Board, the starting material is defined only by the presence of dichloropropanol molecules and does not differ from a generic dichloropropanol.

In order to establish the novelty with respect to D23 which described the manufacture of epichlorohydrin by dehydrochlorination of a dichloropropanol produced from glycerol, the Holder had submitted a D53 test report comparing the use of glycerols having different origins. The epichlorohydrins obtained had different colors.
This does not convince the Board, because in none of the examples did the dicholoropropanol obtained have been isolated and characterized. The different colors may simply indicate the presence of different impurities depending on the source of glycerol, this does not prove that the dichloropropanol is in itself different.

The Board concludes that the claimed process is not new in relation to D23.