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Invention Analysis and Claiming:
Claims With Functional Language Part II1

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 column is adapted from Ron’s widely praised book, “Invention Analysis and Claiming: A Patent Lawyer’s Guide, (American Bar Association, 2007). Ron presents CLE-accredited one- and two-day seminars based on his book both in public venues and in-house. Details at  Ron can be reached at 212-246-4546 and

The mere presence of functional recitations in a claim does not, in and of itself, raise the issue of undue (unpatentable) functionality.2 The question only comes up when functional language is relied on as defining how the invention differs from the prior art. Such recitation(s) are said to constitute “functional language at the point of novelty” (the word “novelty” including in this context non-obviousness...

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