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When an engineer or other layman reads patent claims they often appear to be unintelligible. Claims are full of terms like "means" this, and "said" that "coupled" to the "said" other thing. What does this all mean? How does anyone make sense out of all this? Why are patents written this way?
The reason that claims are sometimes difficult to understand is that they are written in a special language I like to refer to as "patentese". Patentese is actually a very precise and elegant language with a terse lexical construction. The intent of patentese is to define the essence of an invention in such a way as to remove any ambiguity about what the inventor is claiming that he or she has invented (that is the intent, anyway). Claims drafting is the patent attorney's art. Patent claims are the most important part of the patent because they are the measuring stick the court uses to decide whether someone is infringing a patent.
Claims analysis is a procedure for applying the measuring stick of patent claims to the potential infringer's product, process, or system. To apply the measuring stick properly, it is necessary to understand claims language and construction. The analyst must also be able to evaluate the technology he is analyzing accurately in terms of the claims.
Sherwood Engineering has experience in performing claims analysis. We have done it for patent law firms, and directly for clients who want to investigate whether they should seek revenue or royalties from an infringer through a technology licensing agreement.
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