What are Patent Claims?
Patent claims are for intellectual property what a property deed is for physical property. A property deed defines the physical boundaries of your real properly (real estate). Similarly, a Patent claim defines the ownership boundaries of your Intellectual Property.
Claims Determine If There Is Infringement
When a person crosses over your physical property line and enters onto your real property without your permission, they are trespassing and you can file a legal trespass action in the appropriate State court.
Likewise, when someone (who does not have your permission) attempts to use your patented Intellectual Property, you can file an infringement suit in the appropriate US District Court.
Are Patent Claims Complicated?
Because a Patent claim is a single sentence, the claim can be complex. Here are some Patent claim facts for you:
The Anatomy of a Patent Claim:
- Since 1790, the US Patent Office has required that any Patent claim must be a single sentence
- An independent claim is a Patent claim that does not reference or refer to another claim of the Patent
- A dependent claim refers to another claim number in the preamble of the dependent claim
- The words of the claim preceding “comprising” or “consisting” are the preamble
- The words that follow “comprising” or “consisting” in a claim are the body of the claim
- The body of the claim is used to determine patentability or infringement
- A dependent claim can reference (depend on) an independent claim or another dependent claim
- Dependent claims include all the structures/limitations of the claim (or claims) from which they depend
How Patent Claims Work
Below are examples of an independent Patent claim and three related dependent Patent claims. The parts of the independent claim (preamble and body) are labeled:
Independent Claim (#1)
[the preamble] A transportation vehicle comprising:
[the body] a) a frame supporting a surface area adapted to transport matter;
b) an axle attached to the frame; and
c) at least two wheels.
NOTE: A Patent Examiner could construe Independent Claim #1 to include: a bicycle, cart, motorcycle, wagon, trailer, automobile, truck, airplane, etc.
Dependent Claim (#2)
The transportation vehicle of Independent Claim #1 further comprising a motor.
NOTE: A Patent Examiner could construe claim 2 to include: a motorcycle, automobile, truck, airplane, etc.
Dependent Claim (#3)
The transportation vehicle of Dependent Claim #2, wherein the surface area is adapted to carry at least 25 metric tons.
NOTE: A Patent Examiner could construe claim 3 to include a truck or an airplane.
Dependent Claim (#4)
The transportation vehicle of Dependent Claim #3 further comprising wings.
NOTE: A Patent Examiner could construe claim 4 to include an airplane.
Need Help With Your Patent or Patent Application?
If you need legal assistance preparing or managing Patent Applications, please contact Business Patent Law, PLLC.
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