1

What would be the right way to construct claim multi-component system that has their own construct?

Let's say I claim meat production system (or actually ecosystem).

I claim:

  1. A meat production system, comprising;

    • a farm;
    • a slaughterhouse; and
    • a foodmart.
    • means for moving farm animals to slaughterhouse and meat from slaughterhouse to foodmart.
  2. A farm device, comprising;

    • plurality of types of farm animals;
    • roads in and out of said farm; and
    • a truck.
    • said truck transports selected farm animals using road out of the said farm.
  3. A slaughterhouse device, comprising;

    • a living animal storage:
    • a slaughter room; and
    • a finished goods storage.
    • received animals are stored in said living animal storage, animals are slaughtered in said slaughter room and the finish products are stored in the said goods storage.
  4. A foodmart device, comprising;

    • a reception cold storage;
    • a parking lot;
    • plurality of customer facing cold storage units; and..
    • ...
  5. Means claim...

Would the above construct work where I have the high-level first and then I claim the separate "devices" (in my case) as own claims or should I follow weird notation of...

  1. A meat production system, compromising;

    • a farm device, comprising;

      • said truck transports selected farm animals using road out of the said farm.
      • a slaughterhouse; and
      • a foodmart.
      • means for moving farm animals to slaughterhouse and meat from slaughterhouse to foodmart.
    • a slaughterhouse device, comprising;

      • a living animal storage:
      • a slaughter room; and
      • a finished goods storage.
      • received animals are stored in said living animal storage, animals are slaughtered in said slaughter room and the finish products are stored in the said goods storage.
    • ... you get the picture

  2. Means claims...

I've had real troubles finding examples of this as typically people only claim the one element to capture the whole system under means claim. Can I refer the other independent claims through their title? I guess it could be avoidable but being able to do so would make things possibly more clear.

2

The term "system" fits your hypothetical example better than "device”, so I will use that term. Patent claims technically do allow a sort-of inclusion-by-reference. You might say the device of claim 1 operationally coupled to the device of claim 2. The big but is that claim 1 and claim 2 are not just "defining" a subcomponent; they are stating that each subcomponent, itself, is patentable.

If you have a system made up of subsystems you need to first think about which things are actually novel and obvious. If the whole system is non-obvious due to an unusual combination of subsystems and how the subsystems interwork then you might, in order to have the broadest system claim, have an overall systems claim that has few details recited regarding each subsystem as needed for clarity and to assure novelty and non-obviousness. You might add details to the subsystems in dependent claims.

Separately, you may have innovations in one or more of the subsystems. If so, it might make sense to have another independent (stand alone) claim for each of those subsystems. Some of your subsystems may be ordinary, and therefore not represent a novel invention, and therefore not merit an independent claim.

In your first example, where you just name each subcomponent, the high level claim is only patentable if novelty resides in the combination, regardless of the details of the named subcomponents. And the subcomponent claims are only valid claims if each of the subcomponents, on its own, is novel.

If details of the subsystems are needed to archive novelty, the second example where the major components are defined in-line is required. However, in the broadest claim there is no need to narrow each subcomponent any more than is required for clarity and overall patentability. Some subcomponents might be very tightly defined and others just a word (a tractor). More detail can be added in dependent claims.

If you have, and claim, six or seven inventions, you will very likely get a restriction requirement that asks you to pick one for the current examination. With multiple independent inventions you want to think about which are the most important, the hardest to get around and the easiest to detect infringement of from the outside.

I do not know what you think a "means claim" is, but means is a magic word with a very specific meaning in U.S. patent law is is now used very sparingly. Its use presumptively triggers a specific paragraph in the law regarding the construction of the claim.

  • I think this answered question on high-level but just to get full clarity. Would you see Internet of Things fall in the later category where the server is one element without any novel construct but SW-logic and then the actual "things" node is the novel idea with the given server concept. When the claim is drafted, is the construct in the example the way to go? 1. XXX, comprising; - YYY, comprising; * ZZZ – Mikko Jaakkola Sep 24 '18 at 16:05
  • You might make this a new question, fleshed out a little. – George White Sep 24 '18 at 22:07
  • Excellent suggestion. Will do and I'll link these posts together. – Mikko Jaakkola Sep 25 '18 at 0:36
  • New question added. Here is the link – Mikko Jaakkola Sep 25 '18 at 17:33

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