Almost all patent applications are peppered with phrases like "according to some aspects of the present disclosure."

What does this really mean?

In other words, what is the legal distinction between

Figure 3 shows an example of a system for making widgets, according to some aspects of the present disclosure.


Figure 3 shows an example of a system for making widgets.

Are there apocryphal stories of patents that have fallen because that phrase was missing?

1 Answer 1


The second phrase is ok - the potential problem is in the use of the word “invention”. If used at all it must be done very carefully. I know the quote says disclosure not invention but the idea is the same. The effort is to not pin down what the claimed invention is or isn’t other than in the actual enumerated claims at the end of the patent.

  • The invention contains XYZ or
  • The invention does ABC or
  • The invention teaches the following way of making widgets . . .

all have the problem of talking about the invention. Courts have taken these phrases to mean that anything that does not fall into something that the invention is stated to have (do, etc.), is by definition, not the invention regardless of actual claim wording. You narrow the interpretation of the claim beyond what they say in black and white.

Some aspects* gets away from being definitive about what the invention is or isn’t. Google “patent profanity” to learn about wording that has been taken by courts to limit what the plain language of a claim says.

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