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The Evolution Of Form And Language In U.S. Patents

By Morgan D. Rosenberg of Litman Law Offices, Ltd.

Morgan Rosenberg specializes in claim drafting and analysis, along with the drafting of domestic and PCT patent applications and amendments, at Litman Law in Arlington, VA.

Much to the consternation of my coworkers, I draft patent applications, and particularly claims, using the very formal, “old school” and, yes I will admit it, clunky language of yesteryear.  In my mind, it’s not a real patent application without a sufficient number of hereins, therethroughs, wherefors and overly geometrical descriptions of very simple elements (not to mention that I can’t stand “the” in a claim, I’m a “said” purist.)

As most patent practitioners have noticed, patent language has become far more plain in recent years, not only replacing “said” with “the”, but relying far less on the provision that we may be our own lexicographers and using simple terms like “a screw” rather than “a selectively removable retention member having a longitudinally extending shaft, a substantially helical groove being formed on said shaft and extending along the longitudinal axis”.  The various debates I have engaged in over my preference for patent language sparked my interest in the development of both patent language and overall patent form throughout the years.  What I found, though, was a very rich intermeshi...

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