Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The essence of a claim is a strategy of article management

Claim is a checklist of the different components or steps in an invention. Each claim is a concise statement of what the applicant believes to be a patentable invention. The basic structure of a claim must follow the preamble-body design:

A widget for casting figurines, the widget comprising:

everything up to the widget is nonbinding, non-legal preamble. The preamble is convenient location for introducing elements, often non-inventive, in a free way, without risking their introduction in the body of the claim, and possibly over-limiting the scope of the claim.

The above language is for independent claims, the claims that are widest in scope and serve to start a chain of dependent claims that narrow, gradually, the scope of the invention down to the intended concept of the invention.

A dependent claim starts with this preamble:

The widget as in claim 1, wherein...further including...


The widget as in claim 1, further comprising:

In method claims, the widgets are steps in the process, therefore, they are continuous verbs: The broadcasting as in claim 1, further comprising digitizing, serializing, and forming packets from data generated by said computer. Here said is a strategic use of claims article that avoids the problem of vague precedence sometimes created by the use of the, and surprises of using the indefinite article a to introduce an undeclared, new element.