Claim 1. An A, comprising: a B; and a C. Claim 2. The B of Claim 1, comprising a D. (narrowing) Claim 3. The B of Claim 1, comprising an E. (alternative) Claim 4. The C of Claim 1, comprising an E. <-- HERE (an, another, said?)
Update: While trying to keep the question short, I omitted a key phrase which I mistakenly tried to keep implicit (due to the indentation), but needs repeating. Let me try the above again:
Claim 1. An A, comprising: a B; and a C. Claim 2. The A of Claim 1, wherein B comprises a D. (narrowing) Claim 3. The A of Claim 1, wherein B comprises an E. (alternative) Claim 4. The A of Claim 1, wherein C comprises an E. <-- HERE (an, another, said?)
Update: Here is a visual representation of the above. The shapes help show that such devices are distinct types of "things", except for the Es which may be two instances of the same type of thing, or just one instance.
Leaving the claims in the order and number above without grouping (no Markush), what is the article for Claim 4? Is it still "an" because it refers to a new
E? "Another" feels wrong because the
E of Claim 3 is an alternative. Both
E's have the same intrinsic function, so differentiating by function will not help.
Is there a clever phrase or technique to clarify this situation?