Which is correct?

... comprising an A, or a device which may be characterized as an A, ...


... comprising an A, or a device which may be characterized as said A, ...

Update: Think about it: normal people understand the first statement in everyday speech, for example:

Yes, Mr. Loan Officer, I do drive an automobile, or a vehicle which may be characterized as an automobile. (A golf cart in Palm Desert that is road-worthy comes to mind.)

The above is obvious, and I can repeat "an automobile" safely.

Now, given the MPEP and their "a" --> "the/said" antecedent rule, I'm saying "an A" twice in the first statement of my question.

Which is correct for a patent with said grammar recited at my own peril with regard to "an" or "said"? I feel the first statement is fine because I'm stating, "An A, or a device ...". The purpose of this question is to confirm with the community.

  • Not necessarily agreeing with your basic construction but ask yourself if the second mention of A is referring to the first mention. Imagine A was a gear box.
    – George White
    Oct 11, 2022 at 23:12
  • Is there a difference between an A and something like an A? (Characterized as an A). Can a reader deduce an understanding of that by reading the spec? How like an A but not an A are we taking about. Seems indefinite unless the spec teaches it.
    – George White
    Oct 11, 2022 at 23:16
  • @GeorgeWhite If I asked this on the English SE site, I would overwhelmingly get "the first one" as an answer. I ask here because of the MPEP guideline on only introducing a term once, then using the/said a second time. While the claim is closer to "comprising an A or a device" (which are unique terms), I am double-checking with experts here in my question.
    – Drakes
    Oct 13, 2022 at 3:33
  • @GeorgeWhite This question is a condensed precursor to my other question about "processor". So, I might claim, "comprising a processor, or a device which may be characterized as a processor", to hedge my term in the eyes of a judge and jury (even though my spec is very detailed).
    – Drakes
    Oct 13, 2022 at 3:35
  • The question really needs more clarification. Adding the clarification to the question is better than using comments.
    – Eric S
    Oct 16, 2022 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


Yes - the second mention of A isn't the same A as the first mention of A so it is not "said A". Patent grammar is English grammar but more precise.

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