Claims are required to be written in a single sentence form by the USPTO (MPEP 608.01(m)). Claims are also written in a complex manner and usually describe multiple aspects of an invention and tie the invention together.
A period may only be used in case of an abbreviation or to signify the end of one claim. An invention may have multiple discrete parts that require description in a single claim. Each part’s description maybe a long phrase and the semicolon facilitates the incorporation and differentiation of multiple phrases in a single sentence.
The semicolon (;) thus, allows one to incorporate multiple discrete parts of an invention into one claim while conforming to MPEP guidelines regarding the form of claims (MPEP 608.01(m)).
“And” is used in claim to signify that the following part/phrase is the last part/phrase in the claim.
For example see claim 11 of US20140030523
- Hydrous aripiprazole having an endothermic curve comprising a first endothermic peak at about 71° C. and a second endothermic peak around 60° C. to 120° C. in a thermogravimetric or differential thermal analysis (heating rate 5° C./min) and one or more of the following properties:
a powder x-ray diffraction spectrum comprising characteristic peaks at 2θ=12.6°, 15.4°, 17.3°, 18.0°, 18.6°, 22.5°, and 24.8° using a Cu Kα x-ray; and
an infrared absorption spectrum comprising infrared absorption bands at 2951, 2822, 1692, 1577, 1447, 1378, 1187, 963, and 784 cm−1 on the IR (KBr) spectrum.
The preamble of the claim states that the invention is described by one or more of the following properties and goes on to list 2 different properties.
1) A powder x-ray diffraction spectrum
2) An infrared absorption spectrum
The two phrases are separated by a semicolon signifying that they are both part of the same sentence and yet are discrete. The second phrase “an infrared absorption spectrum” is preceded by “; and” indicating that the next phrase is the last phrase in the claim.