what does this sentence mean:

"can be implemented as a method, apparatus, and/or computer software embodied in a computer-readable medium"

I have learned that method means process. Though, is this like a computer process or the word process has a different meaning. Apparatus on the hand I believe is the machine. Though, I cannot figure out what this means:

"computer software embodied in a computer-readable medium"

Does it mean that the software resides in a computer device such as PC, smart phones, tablets etc.?

Also, what does "in one aspect" and "in another aspect" mean under the summary of the invention?

Thank you.


2 Answers 2


It means the person writing the patent does not want to limit his invention to any aspect he describes and patent as many aspects as possible and underline that the embodiments are just examples. It's part of the way of writing a patent, most attorneys use phrases like this.

Computer software embodied in a computer-readable medium means exactly what it says -> they want to patent the software. This is just the normnal way of saying it, because software patents are not allowed in some jurisdictions and depend on altering the physical world in others. In the end, just take it literal. Software always is on a computer-readable medium, everything else would make no sense.

Apparatus is the machine, method the process of using it and software the implementation. By patenting all three they can possibly catch implementations that infringe with an altered software or an altered process or something like that. Sometimes claims like this are worded "a device configured to do this and that" - in this case the device doesn't even have to do it, it just has to be able to do it to infringe.

Things like this are the reason a patent attorney should draft a patent, experience is needed to write a good patent including this stuff and understanding what it is for.

  • so process is not the actual running process in memory? Is saying "Computer software embodied in a computer-readable medium" a fancy way of saying a program for example? What does aspect mean. Does it mean implementation?
    – Lynn B.
    Feb 14, 2017 at 22:07
  • "Is saying "Computer software embodied in a computer-readable medium" a fancy way of saying a program for example? " Yes, exactly. Process depends on the context, but normally a process could be "put chemical substance a into b" or "The cpu tells the gpu to show on the display unit what the user is thinking", it's not the same as the process running your programms tasks on a pc. Aspect means example. One aspect of the invention means the invention can be implemented in for example this way, but also in different ways or there are other "aspects" - other features - in the invention.
    – user18033
    Feb 15, 2017 at 7:31

Dealing specifically with aspects (since I have nothing to add to DonQuiKong's answer on methods etc):

An aspect of an invention is a particular way of viewing the same invention. So if the invention a transmission method, one aspect may be the sending end, and another aspect may be the receiving end. They both relate to the same invention, they're just different views of it.

An aspect can be contrasted with an embodiment, which is one way of implementing an invention, usually with some non-essential features. So in an embodiment of the transmission method, the sender and the receive may be in different networks. In another embodiment, they may be in the same network. Neither embodiment is essential for the invention (as it still works regardless), they just reflects different ways of putting it into use.

Conventionally (and particularly in the summary section) aspects map to independent claims and embodiments map to dependent claims.

  • 1
    this is a well written explanation which is easy to understand. Thanks, now I understand what aspects and embodiments mean. Though I cannot wrap my head about the method/apparatus/software.
    – Lynn B.
    Feb 18, 2017 at 3:27

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