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By Ronald Slusky

Means-Plus-Function—Part III1

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 the Second Edition of Ron’s book, “Invention Analysis and Claiming: A Patent Lawyer’s Guide (American Bar Association, 2012). 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

This is the third in a series of columns on means-plus-function claiming under 35 USC 112, ¶6 (soon to be known as 35 USC 112(f)).2

What’s a Poor Claim Drafter to Do?

Innumerable inventions defined as an apparatus involve a combination of elements in which the only thing that matters for one or more of the elements is the function that the element performs—not the particular structure that the inventor happened to...

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