The claim or claims must commence on a separate physical sheet or electronic page and should appear after the detailed description of the invention. Any sheet including a claim or portion of a claim may not contain any other parts of the application or other material. While there is no set statutory form for claims, the present Office practice is to insist that each claim must be the object of a sentence starting with “I (or we) claim,” “The invention claimed is” (or the equivalent). If, at the time of allowance, the quoted terminology is not present, it is inserted by the Office of Data Management. Each claim begins with a capital letter and ends with a period. Periods may not be used elsewhere in the claims except for abbreviations. See Fressola v.Manbeck, 36 USPQ2d 1211 (D.D.C. 1995). Where a claim sets forth a plurality of elements or steps, each element or step of the claim should be separated by a line indentation, 37 CFR 1.75(i).
There may be plural indentations to further segregate subcombinations or related steps. In general, the printed patent copies will follow the format used but printing difficulties or expense may prevent the duplication of unduly complex claim formats.
Reference characters corresponding to elements recited in the detailed description and the drawings may be used in conjunction with the recitation of the same element or group of elements in the claims. The reference characters, however, should be enclosed within parentheses so as to avoid confusion with other numbers or characters which may appear in the claims. The use of reference characters is to be considered as having no effect on the scope of the claims.
Many of the difficulties encountered in the prosecution of patent applications after final rejection may be alleviated if each applicant includes, at the time of filing or no later than the first reply, claims varying from the broadest to which he or she believes he or she is entitled to the most detailed that he or she is willing to accept.
Claims should preferably be arranged in order of scope so that the first claim presented is the least restrictive. All dependent claims should be grouped together with the claim or claims to which they refer to the extent practicable. Where separate species are claimed, the claims of like species should be grouped together where possible. Similarly, product and process claims should be separately grouped. Such arrangements are for the purpose of facilitating classification and examination.
The form of claim required in 37 CFR 1.75(e) is particularly adapted for the description of improvement-type inventions. It is to be considered a combination claim. The preamble of this form of claim is considered to positively and clearly include all the elements or steps recited therein as a part of the claimed combination.
The following form paragraphs may be used to object to the form of the claims.
¶ 6.18.01 Claims: Placement
¶ 7.29.01 Claims Objected to, Minor Informalities
Claim objected to because of the following informalities: . Appropriate correction is required.
- 1. Use this form paragraph to point out minor informalities such as spelling errors, inconsistent terminology (see the requirement of 37 CFR 1.71(a) for “full, clear, concise, and exact terms”), etc., which should be corrected.
- 2. If the informalities render the claim(s) indefinite, use form paragraph 7.34.01 instead to reject the claim(s) under35 U.S.C. 112(b) or 35 U.S.C. 112 (pre-AIA), second paragraph.
¶ 7.29.02 Claims Objected to, Reference Characters Not Enclosed Within Parentheses
The claims are objected to because they include reference characters which are not enclosed within parentheses.
Reference characters corresponding to elements recited in the detailed description of the drawings and used in conjunction with the recitation of the same element or group of elements in the claims should be enclosed within parentheses so as to avoid confusion with other numbers or characters which may appear in the claims. See MPEP § 608.01(m).
¶ 7.29.03 Claims Objected to, Spacing of Lines
The claims are objected to because the lines are crowded too closely together, making reading difficult. Substitute claims with lines one and one-half or double spaced on good quality paper are required. See 37 CFR 1.52(b).
Amendments to the claims must be in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(c).