oa De Rebus - Optional features in a patent claim : opinion - intellectual property
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' (Gentiruco AG v Firestone SA (Pty) Ltd 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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