Scope of claims in a patent application

Determining the scope of claims in a patent application

The patent claims define what the patent eventually protects. The claims provide a set of rights to the owner of the invention. However, the significant issue faced by person drafting the claims is to determine the scope of the invention. The claims in a patent application specify the scope of the invention. Therefore, it is very important to study the scope of the claims because it is the claims which eventually decide the inventor’s monopoly protection. The scope of the invention is determined by its claims and the scope of the claims is determined by the words used in the claims to express the invention. Therefore, it is very important that the words used in the claims must not limit the scope of the invention.

The person drafting the claims should choose the right set of words while drafting the claims as it may affect the scope of the invention. The protection for any invention is based on the words used in the claims. The use of incorrect words in the claims may lead to rejection of the patent application which may cause loss to the inventor in terms of time and money. In order to avoid rejection based on any prior art due to infringement by the use of words in the claims, the person drafting the claims should draft the claims by selecting the claims as a method, system or CPP based on the determined scope of the claims. The claims are carefully written to give a substantial scope of protection for the invention to the inventor. The scope of an invention can be expanded by expanding the scope of the claims. One way of increasing the scope is to use the terms having a much broader meaning in order to widen the scope of the invention.

Each claim in the claim set should be either broad or narrow based on the novelty of the invention. In general, a narrow claim specifies more details than a broader claim. The patent application comprising more number of broad and narrow claims allows the inventor to have legal title to several aspects of the invention by which the invention is performed by any person.

Consider an example of a broad claim:

A method for enabling sharing of digital content in one or more aerial vehicles, the method comprising:

storing a plurality of digital content of each of one or more digital entertainment systems associated with each of one or more aerial vehicles;

associating an identifier with each of one or more users for accessing the one or more digital entertainment systems;

saving a plurality of attributes associated with each of the identifiers with each of the one or more users; and

accessing the one or more digital content from the first set of each of the one or more aerial vehicles pertaining to the digital entertainment systems associated with each of the identifiers.

Further, consider an example of narrow independent claim, as shown below:

A method for enabling sharing of the digital content in the one or more aerial vehicles, the method comprising:

  • storing a plurality of digital contents of each of one or more digital entertainment systems associated with each of the one or more aerial vehicles;
  • enabling association of identifiers with each of one or more users for accessing the one or more digital entertainment systems;
  • saving a plurality of attributes associated with each of the identifiers with each of the one or more users;
  • retrieving the plurality of digital contents from the first set of each of the one or more aerial vehicles pertaining to the one or more digital entertainment systems associated with each of the identifiers;
  • determining credit points associated with each of the one or more users based on accessing of the plurality of digital content; and
  • enabling each of the one or more users to redeem the credit points when the credit points associated with one or more users exceeds a pre-defined threshold.

In nutshell, the scope of the claims of an invention should be analyzed before drafting of the patent claims in order to provide protection to the inventor. The scope of the patent claims is determined based on the prior art and the novel aspect of the invention. The scope of the claims is selected as the broad claims or the narrow claims.

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