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Invention Analysis and Claiming: Problem-Solution-Based Claims1

By Ronald Slusky

Ronald Slusky mentored dozens of attorneys in “old school” invention analysis and claiming principles over a 31-year career at Bell Laboratories. He is now in private practice in New York City. This article is adapted from his book “Invention Analysis and Claiming: A Patent Lawyer’s Guide” published by the American Bar Association and available at Ron can be reached at 212-246-4546 and

Previous columns advanced problem-solution analysis as a powerful paradigm for surfacing the concept underlying an invention. Central to that analysis is the problem-solution statement—a one-sentence definition of the invention, stating as broadly as possible a) the problem the invention solves, and b) the inventor’s solution to that problem, but without the overall problem-solution statement reading on the prior art.

Here, for example, is a problem-solution statement for L’Esperance’s pioneering invention for laser-surgery eyesight correction2:

The problem of correcting sight is solved by operating solely upon the anterior surface of the cornea of the eye using selective ultraviolet irradiation and attendant ablative photodecomposition of the...

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