Patent Claim Interpretation Methodologies and Their Claim Scope Paradigms
Christopher Anthony Cotropia
University of Richmond School of Law
Tulane Public Law Research Paper No. 05-05
The optimal scope of patent protection is an issue that patent system observers have struggled with for decades. Various patent doctrines have been recognized as tools for creating specific patent scopes and, as a result, implementing specific patent theories. One area of patent law that has not been addressed in the discussion over patent scope and patent theories is patent claim interpretation. This omission is particularly noteworthy because of the substantive role patent claims and the interpretation thereof play in the patent system - framing questions of patent infringement and validity.
This Article will explore the not as of yet discussed relationship between claim interpretation methodology and patent scope. The discussion will focus on how changes in interpretation methodology affect patent scope - an aspect of methodologies the Article identifies as their claim scope paradigm. Introduction of the concept of claim scope paradigm is beneficial for two main reasons. First, the identification of the claim scope paradigm allows different interpretation methodologies to be evaluated as to their impact on the substantive function of patent claims. A claim scope paradigm criterion represents a significant and worthwhile departure from the current standard of certainty used by courts and commentators. Second, recognizing claim scope paradigms facilitates the use of claim interpretation methodology as a patent policy lever. Interpretation methodologies can be highly effective levers, having the ability to inject patent policy at the most basic level of the patent process.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 71
Keywords: patent, claim, claim interpretation, patent scope, patent theory, interpretation
JEL Classification: K39, K40, K41, O31, O34working papers series
Date posted: March 14, 2005
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