THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PATENT CLAIMS

Published: 24th July 2009
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There are many different types of claims of a patent application. Some patent claims are about the type of invention. There are apparatus claims, method or process claims, claims to designs, chemical composition, etc.



There are also claims which are related to the scope of a patent. Generally speaking, broad patent claims are more valuable and marketable than narrow claims. Broad patent claims are similar to a fishing net. The bigger the net, the more fish on your plate. In patent terms, a broad claim will give you a larger monopoly and potentially more opportunities for licensing.



Narrow claims are claims with less scope. These claims are more difficult to infringe, and are typically less valuable. The narrowest claims are called "picture claims" which typically list many different components and are usually the most likely to pass muster with the USPTO.

There are also independent claims and dependent claims. You can think of independent claims and the dependent claims as being one really long, and grammatically incorrect sentence, which your high school English teacher would be quick to fail in a book report. In other words, you can pretend that there is no period between the independent claim and the dependent claim because the dependent claim is conflated in scope with the independent claim.



It should be noted that if the independent claim is infringed, you do not need to worry about the dependent claims. However, if there is no infringement on the independent claim, but there is infringement on the dependent claim, there is still infringement.



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