# interpreting claims based on specifications

In the specifications, four numbers, A, B, C, and D, are central to the machine.

It is clear that:

1. If all four of the numbers can only ever be zeros, then the invention is obvious or not novel.

In the specifications, along with the main embodiment where all four numbers can be non-zeros there are several other embodiments explicitly covering all combinations of the four numbers that can be reduced to zeros always.

1. B (i.e. B can be reduced to zero always)
2. D
3. A and D
4. B and C
5. B and D (can be reduced to zeros always only if X and Y are added to the machine)

Questions:

1. When A, B, C, and D are referenced in the claims, even if not explicitly stated, will they be automatically interpreted to have the restriction or narrowing described in the specifications?
2. Furthermore, if X and Y are not mentioned in the claim, then will B and D be automatically interpreted to not be reduced to zeros always, i.e. embodiment 5?

I am not sure I understand your question but here are my thoughts, and attempt to an answer:

How I understand your question is, you have a claim that claims a machine, and the claim contains 4 features (i.e. the numbers A, B, C, and D), so your claim is something like: A machine comprising A, B, C, and D.

Now you have a prior art that discloses the specific case of your claim, i.e. A=B=C=D=0. (For clarification, you cannot asses novelty or inventive step without prior art.)

The specifications contain six embodiments (the five you have listed and the case where all numbers are equal to zero).

And your question is would the claim be interpreted to exclude the case where A=B=C=D=0? I.e. narrower in light of the specification.

I think it really depends on the specification. Say the specs simply list all those embodiments, then there is no reason to interpret that the claim excludes the case A=B=C=D=0.

On the other hand, say the case A=B=C=D=0 does not make any technical sense (technically not possible), then you could argue that this exact case cannot be included in the claim, since the technically skilled person would not consider that case.

I think it depends on the specific case at hand, and it is difficult to give a general answer.

PS: I am located in EU and my answer is based on what I know from the EPC. It could be different in other countries/jurisdictions.