Ask Patents is a question and answer site for people interested in improving and participating in the patent system. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Does the term exemplary mean 'the ideal example', or just 'an example'?

I think it is the latter, but would like to be certain.

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

In the past it was always understood to mean 'example' and that is what the drafter of the patent application surely meant. But more recently when people started to be wary of "preferred embodiment" possibly being taken by a judge as "only embodiment" they also realized the other meaning of the word exemplary. If preferred embodiment might be a problem then exemplary in the sense of 'the ideal example' might also be a problem. I have stopped using it partly for that reason and partly because it sounds affected.'

share|improve this answer
Thanks George, so is the word 'example' a reasonable replacement for exemplary? – Kim Prince Jun 30 '14 at 22:31
example, example embodiment, an alternate version - can all work. – George White Jul 1 '14 at 4:14

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.