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By Ronald Slusky

Means-Plus-Function Claiming—Part I1

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 and is the author of the widely praised book, "Invention Analysis and Claiming: A Patent Lawyer's Guide," (American Bar Association, 2007). Ron's CLE-accredited two-day seminar will be presented on May 21-22 in Chicago. Details at The seminar is also available in one- and two-day versions in-house. Ron can be reached at 212-246-4546 and

This is the first of a series of columns on the topic of means-plus-function claiming.

Means-Plus-Function Claim Breadth

Section 112, ¶6 of the patent statute (soon to be known as §112(f))2 says that an element in a claimed combination may be expressed as a means or step for performing a specified function without the claim having to be more specific about, for example, the structure that makes up a recited means or the acts (sub-steps) that make up a recited step. ...

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