There is a line of cases where 112(f) is avoided by specifying a term that "connotes structure" and is modified by operation of that term.

Apparently separately, there is the notion that 112(f) application can be required whenever a claim "recites function without reciting sufficient structure to perform" the function.

My question is, are these the same thing by different names, or are they different standards?

My best guess is that a structure that is merely "connoted" is in most cases not sufficient to perform the function, and thus these standards differ, raising the question of which one controls when both rationales apply.

However it could be that when a term that connotes structure is modified with an (albeit functional) description pertaining to its operation, the resulting limitation as a whole is the structure that performs the function. In this case one can view the standards as convergent.

Which interpretation is closer to being correct / what is the correct interpretation?


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