If there are several Claims in a patent application, can prior art for one of them invalidate the entire patent application since all the other claims are dependent claims? Or does that just mean the patent examiner won't grant Claim 1 but other claims will be granted?

For example, in trying to answer this prior art question regarding caching of web content, I was unsure which claims the prior art needed to cover.


2 Answers 2


One reason for having dependent claims in the first place is that they can potentially stand on their own even if the claim that they depend from is deemed invalid. So no, if a particular claim has prior art it doesn't necessarily mean that its dependent claims will also be invalidated. However, depending on the particular prior art they could very well be rejected for obviousness.


Any claims in a patent application not rejected by the patent examiner (i.e. covered by the prior art) would be considered to be allowable.
Just because a piece of prior art may not cover all the claims does not mean it is "bad" prior art. This type of prior art could be used in an obvious-type rejection.

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