is the Examiner aware of the prior art on diffraction range finders in the publication list:


Taken from the Prior Art Request Template.

If another user (or the original poster) could complete for US20120281086 it would be very helpful.

HELP SAVE [INDUSTRY THREATENED BY OVERLY BROAD APPLICATION IN QUESTION] - This application from [Assignee name] seeks to patent [quick, sensational description of invention described by application]! 10 minutes of your time can help narrow this US patent application before it becomes a patent.

QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before {Priority Date}

  • [Description of stated invention, in plain English note: include more than 1 bullet if multi-step process is essential to invention]

If you've ever seen anything like this before, please submit evidence of prior art as an answer to this question -- one piece of prior art per answer. We welcome multiple answers from a single individual.

EXTRA CREDIT - Include a reference to anything that meets all of the criteria to the question above AND ALSO {extra detail of stated invention that appears tangentially essential to idea}.

TITLE: Distance measurement apparatus and distance measurement method

Summary: [A multi-sentence description of the invention described in the patent application translated into plain old English. Feel free to borrow liberally from the application's Abstract.]

  • Publication Number: US US20120281086
  • Prior Art Date: Seeking prior Art predating Nov 9, 2010
  • Open for Challenge at USPTO: through [Final Challenge Date note: this date is typically as soon as six months after the publication date, but sometimes earlier and sometimes later. See here for more info.]

Claim 14 requires each and every aspect of the following claim wording.

(1-13 were canceled before the application was published, there are two other independent claims.)

A distance measurement apparatus comprising:

a) an imaging device which captures an image;

b) a diffractive optical device which has a curved surface and diffracts a subject image;

c) an optical system which forms, on said imaging device, the image from the subject image diffracted by said diffractive optical device; and

d) a distance measurement unit configured to measure a distance to a subject using the image captured by said imaging device, wherein said distance measurement unit is configured to measure the distance to the subject based on an interval between diffraction figures of the subject image which are created by said diffractive optical device, the interval being on the image captured by said imaging device.

In English this means:

  1. [First device of claim 1 translated into plain old English]
  2. [Second step of claim 1 translated into plain old English]
  3. [Third step of claim 1 translated into plain old English]

Good prior art would be evidence of a system that did each and every one of these steps prior to [Priority Date].

You're probably aware of ten pieces of art that meet this criteria already... separately, the applicant is claiming a method using all of the steps above and including [extra detail provided in Extra Credit section].

[Image note: this is where you may choose to upload a diagram taken from the patent application. We recommend uploading an image that is eye-catching, and quickly communicates the essence of the invention described in the patent application.]

What is good prior art? Please see our FAQ.

Want to help? Please vote or comment on submissions below. We welcome you to post your own request for prior art on other questionable US Patent Applications.

  • Hi, Ask Patents is an online service in Q&A format where users help find prior art on US Patent Applications and US Patents and ask questions about the US Patent process. If you'd like to find prior art on a specific US patent application, please use the prior-art-request format and see faq for more information about which topics are on topic for AskPatents. Feel free to edit and resubmit your question. Aug 11, 2013 at 19:38
  • 1
    Although the poster cited a PCT application the corresponding US application was readily determinable. I think it should have been edited rather than closed.
    – George White
    Aug 11, 2013 at 20:28
  • George, Good catch. Question was reopened around US20120281086. If original poster or another user could fill in details for the prior art request by editing the question it would be helpful. Aug 11, 2013 at 21:02
  • 1
    Does this question intentionally contain template placeholders?
    – Emyr
    Aug 12, 2013 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


The direct answer to the question is yes, the USPTO has been made aware by the applicant of at least two of your (Ditto's - OP) patents. They are listed on an Information Disclosure Statement that is on file in the case. The full case file wrapper can be looked at using USPTO Public PAIR. From that site:

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