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Showing posts from December, 2017

Large-scale scientific experiments and the need for more exemptionslike the Hatch-Waxman exception in Patent Law

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Oceanography is a fascinating field of study, encompassing knowledge from a variety of scientific and engineering disciplines.  Notable pioneering efforts in oceanography have been recognized from countries across the globe although tribute must be given to the great Jacques Cousteau for the popularization of oceanography in the eyes of the general public.  His books, films, and conservation efforts have revealed the wonders of the oceans for countless children and adults alike.
In the 1980s, John Martin’s seminal work out of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute fueled the idea of seeding algal blooms with iron, aka iron fertilization, into becoming a feasible solution to the issue of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.  The results of his studies on mapping the oceanic distribution of nutrients essential for algal proliferation confirmed the presence of large regions that are low in iron levels with respect to macronutrients such as nitrate, phosphate, and silicate.   Such …

Functional Language in Claims of a Chinese Patent Application

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One way to draft claims for a method or a device is to describe the method or device by its function, in the form of means (or steps)-plus-function language.  However, one may want to avoid such an approach in US applications because once a claim is determined to include the means or step for language, the claim coverage is confined to the specific embodiments and examples disclosed in the specification, and equivalents thereof.  As such, claims drafted with purely functional language may have a more limited scope.  Further, the claim may have a higher likelihood to be considered invalid if the structural disclosure in the specification is not adequate.
Specific terms in the claim language may indicate that the claim has a high likelihood to be considered having means-plus-function language.  For example, the U.S. patent office lists terms including “means”, “step”, “for”, “configured to”, and “so that”.  See MPEP 2181.
In China, patent claims drafted in the functional language face …