Chapter 2100 – Patentability
Chapter 2173.01 – Interpreting the Claims
Fundamental principle-> Applicants are their own lexicographers. This essentially means that applicants can use claim terms that have special meaning, however they better define those terms clearly in the specification. This includes functional language, alternative expressions, negative limitations (not recommended!!!), or any style of expression or format of claim which makes clear the boundaries of the subject matter for which protection is sought.
Broadest Reasonable Interpretation – BRI
BRI of claim language – how would a person of ordinary skill in the art interpret the claim language?
plain meaning – the ordinary and customary meaning of a term as evidenced by claims themselves, the specification, drawings, and prior art.
35 USC 112(f) or pre-AIA 35 USC 112, sixth paragraph
If a claim invokes 112(f) or pre-AIA 35 USC 112, sixth paragraph, the claim must “be construed to cover the corresponding structure, material, or acts described in the specification and equivalents thereof.”
Whether or not a claim invokes 112(f) or 112, sixth paragraph, is covered in MPEP 2181.