This is deeper-dive to earlier question Constructing multi-part system claims

Let's take another example effectively describing easy imagine weather station system for home where there are multiple (or at least one) small weather-stations placed into owners yard and then those

The whole title could be something like... A method and system for home weather monitor system

  1. A home weather monitor system, comprising;
    • a. at least one weather stations comprising computing unit, rain sensor, wind-sensor, temperature sensor, air barometer sensor, ... (let's say that the selected sensors and methods how they are used are novel)
    • b. a gateway;
    • c. a server computer system; (methods would actually be implemented in the server by using inputs from the multiple weather stations)
    • d. at least one application;

wherein said weather station interfaces said gateway connecting said weather station to Internet enabling the connection to said server computer system serving least one said applications over internet.

A home weather monitor system of claim 1, wherein said wind-sensor comprises a rotor, superconductor bearing (let's say this is one of the novel thingies).


  1. Would this be the right way to start building the claim when there is actually nothing novel at the top level of the system claim but more “aggregated” construct would do so?

  2. How does one in general process two layers definitions. In this case, the high-level system is layer 1, weather station internal composition is layer 2 and dependent claim on wind-sensor is layer 3.

  3. Does it really matter if the whole top level system is claimed in the claims as long as actually claimed stuff can be understood by the judge and the overall functionality is part of the description? By leaving the top level out, there is risk that the person might not be able to figure out the system construct and what happens where just from the text.

I've looked ton of patents through and I feel that they all avoid three layer structures and typically seem to claim only the weather station part as system or device claim and then adding method claim to capture how the whole high-level system solves the issue. Of course, it would be great to be able to claim only the top level claim but eg. the described hierarchy and system partitioning is very common for all IoT devices so in many cases that's not possible but one needs to dig a bit deeper to find novelty.

1 Answer 1


The claims do not need to explain, they need to define. The specification explains. The job of a claim is to to define something that is novel. If the higher level, absent details of cool subsystems, is not novel, then a high level systems claim without those details would not define anything novel.

If the way the weather station works is novel, then claim that, in isolation. No one will be able to make the larger system without the novel weather station and many other different high level systems will be inherently protected by the protection of that needed ingredient. Every subcomponent (and actually every word) in a claim is a point of attack for a copier. Could a system be implemented without a gateway? If so, then someone can duplicate your system, including the special part, if they omit the gateway.

If your claim is special part + optional boring part, anyone can leave out the boring part and make the special part. This is why you do not see overall system claims. Also, to go after an infringer, you need to identify a single party providing (or controlling the provision of) all of the elements or performing all the steps. If the subcomponents of your home weather monitoring system are made by four different vendors and is only put together by the homeowner, the homeowner is the only infringer.

A widget comprising: an A a B and a C operationally coupled, forming a boat.

If a generic A and B and C are individually old and and it is known to put an A and a B and a C together to make a boat, the that widget is not patentable and therefore should not be a claim. If you have a novel way to couple a generic A, B and C, then the high level system can be patentable. But do not throw a generic, optional D into the claim.

Maybe you have a novel way to interconnect a generic A, B and C and you have a novel B. Then claim 1. is to a general A, B and C and the special way the work together. Good. But if you then say, claim 2 is a thing of claim 1 where is the B is special in the following way, also good. But you have not protected the special B itself. That would take a new independent claim focused on the special B.

You might have a special way to make a B and imagine how useful it would be as a component in a larger widget. If B is novel, claim B. Then any high level system with a B in it is inherently impossible for anyone else to make, because they can't make a B without your OK.

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