Reaching for Breadth Part IV
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Invention Analysis and Claiming:
Reaching for Breadth Part IV1

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.  For information on Ron’s two-day seminar based on his book, visit Ron can be reached at 212-246-4546 and


A recurring theme in these columns is the central role of the problem-solution statement in analyzing an invention to uncover its breadth.

Consider, for example, the coffee maker shown in FIG. 1.2  When the carafe is not in place, a valve in the coffee basket prevents liquid from dripping out of the brew basket onto the burner or countertop.  Sliding the carafe into place pushes up on a pin, which opens the valve and allows coffee to flow.  If the carafe is removed, the valve is again closed.

A problem-solution statement for this invention is as follows:

The ...

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