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Suppose there is a patent whose first claim essentially covers "a system comprising a computing device having code usable by said computing device, said code comprising: code configured to do A; code configured to do B".

Now if I implement a system with two computers such that computer 1 has the code to do A and computer 2 has the code to do B, and the computers are connected via ethernet or similar, do I violate this patent?

Does it help if I can reasonably justify that the two-computer implementation is more natural (because of physical distance between the stuff needed for A and B, and also fault tolerance) and therefore it would have been built like that, even if the patent had not existed?

Wikipedia says:

"An apple" never means more than one apple.

Can I trust that this is true in the patent context?

A related but not identical question: Does plurality mean that it must have more than 1 camera?

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In a patent claim "a" in most contexts means one or more. In a particular context in some case a judge decided that "a" meant exactly one. Since then many people add some boilerplate language to cover it or use "one or more". The reason the default is one more is claims usually have "comprising" in the preamble. It is 100% clear that this means "at least the following but can be other things too". So if you read "comprising a handle" it is the comprising that makes the "a" possibly plural. If it said "consisting of a handle" it might very well be read as exactly one handle. –  George White Jun 8 at 4:21
    
@GeorgeWhite: Thanks a lot for your response – I think you nailed it. However, a followup question would be that if I implemented a system which absolutely does not have "a computer doing A and B", but does include "a computer doing A" and "another computer doing B", would I then be violating this kind of a patent? –  Pukku Jun 8 at 7:18
    
It would depend on the exact language of the claim and how that language might be interpreted under the plain meaning of the words and in light of the specification and the prosecution history. I know that means "it depends". –  George White Jun 8 at 19:36
    
Ok, thanks a lot! –  Pukku Jun 9 at 13:43

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