oa De Rebus - Optional features in a patent claim : opinion - intellectual property

Volume 2016, Issue 562
  • ISSN : 0250-0329



In patent law, the claims of the patent define the scope of protection afforded to a patentee, and for this reason the claims must 'define with clarity and precision the scope of the invention claimed as a monopoly' ( 1972 (1) SA 589 (A)). Certain words give particular problems when used in patent claims and one of these is the word 'preferably' and similar words and phrases. A matter involving use of these terms recently came before the Board of Appeal (the board) of the European Patent Office (EPO), T 1882/12 (www.epo.org), which may change the approach when interpreting features introduced by these terms in a patent claim.

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