I'm often told to keep "claim language" like "plurality" and "comprising" out of the description.

Is this just a style preference or is there any compelling reason to avoid this?

1 Answer 1


The first principle is to not use language that might have some legal connotation that you do not fully understand.

Regarding your specific examples I would say that there is a danger of a court importing limitations from the specification into their reading of the claims. While the claims are to be read in light of the specification it is improper to decide something in the specification overrides the plain meaning of the claims - but it happens.

  • 1
    My feeling is that "plurality" is unambiguous in any context -- it simply means two or more. "Comprising" does have legal connotations, but it's also the most permissive. On the other hand, the humorous thing about the "plain meaning" of "comprising" is that it's hopelessly ambiguous! It means both to be made up of and to make up.
    – jordanpg
    Jun 8, 2023 at 19:42
  • 1
    In claims “a” has been interpreted to mean any amount greater than one; “and” as “or” - maybe it was the other way around, etc.
    – George White
    Jun 9, 2023 at 2:31

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .