On another site, I learned that many words in U.S. patents have very specific meanings, subtly different from their usual meanings in English.

For example, "comprising" is different from "consisting of".

What other examples are there? Is there a comprehensive list?

  • And it gets worse if you look internationally. In Australia, comprising can sometimes have the same meaning as "consisting of". But only sometimes.
    – Maca
    May 8, 2017 at 1:03
  • But I recall looking for such a resource some years back while I was training some staff, and come up short. So I fear the answer may be "no" to the comprehensive list. But hopefully I'm wrong in this, because such a resource would be immensely helpful.
    – Maca
    May 8, 2017 at 1:05
  • It would need someone with good resources to check the case law and compile a list of which words may be interpreted in what way. I think mpep has some of the definitions, but I haven't found anything like you ask for.
    – user18033
    May 8, 2017 at 10:12
  • 1
    I found your question when searching for something similar. Here's a list that's moderately comprehensive. pubpat.org/assets/files/garrodglossaries/… Nov 1, 2018 at 4:01

1 Answer 1


2 types of these language are used: A) Transitional phrases and B) Connecting clauses. A) Transitional Phases: The transitional phrases “comprising”, “consisting essentially of”, “consisting of” and "having" define the scope of a claim. Transitional Phases defines what is included and what is not included. "comprising”, also refer as “including,” “containing,” or “characterized by,” is inclusive or open-ended and does not exclude additional step/method/ingredients. “consisting of” excludes any element, step, or ingredient not specified in the claim. This is why most of the Pharma company patents include consisting of. “consisting essentially of” it basically limits the scope of a claim to the specified materials or steps but do not materially affect the basic and novel characteristic of the claimed invention. “having” it is interpreted in light of the specification to determine whether open or closed claim language is intended.

B) Connecting clauses Wherein Whereby Adapted to Adapted for Preferably May Optional Not essential Essential

I have mentioned about few key features. Others can even include in this one.

For further information, there are few links https://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/s2111.html, http://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/html/caselaw/2016/e/clr_ii_e_1_13.htm

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