I'm writing a provisional patent which has many variations. Several of the properties that make up a number of dependant claims are independent of one another.

If I do one claim for every combination of options I want to patent, it seems that there would be an exponential number of claims.

Is there legitimate way to avoid having to write an exponential number of claims for my patent when there is indeed an exponential number of variations caused by many independent options?

2 Answers 2


Claims are designed to be built up like a tree. So the claim structure should be:

  1. A thing with a feature X.

  2. The thing of claim 1, where the feature X is of a type Z.

  3. The thing of claim 2, where the type Z is A, B, or C.

You should be able to collapse the variations.

Also, you do get to define your own terms in a patent, as long as you actually define the terms. So you can call "feature X" Bob, if you want, as long as it's clear for someone reading the patent what Bob refers to. This enables you to group conceptually.


You can include multiple independent claims of varying scope in a patent application. Each of these independent claims can have several dependent claims that are written using terminologies that may be common to multiple variations that can be grouped together. The terminologies can be described in detail in the description to cover the variations. The grouping can be done in such a way that it is easier to elect in case objection is raised during prosecution. All variations can be included in the description using multiple embodiments by using terminologies that are consistent with the ones used in the claims.


  • Thanks, I think this was actually the answer I was looking for.
    – JSideris
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 19:55
  • Glad that you found the answer helpful. Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 6:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .