Regarding patent US7873522 (Measurement of spoken language training, learning and testing):

I would like to know why dependent claim 18 begins "The method of claim 17..." when claim 17 is not a method claim. Claim 17 is an apparatus claim, and does not, from what I can see, contain any method.


"17. An apparatus comprising: a user interface to receive...."

"18. The method of claim 17, further comprising a computing device to play a benchmark audio..."

The other two dependent claims that follow claim 18 (19 and 20) both begin, "The apparatus of claim 17...", as one would expect.

Wikipedia seems to indicate that a dependent claim can have a different "claim type" that the independent claim that it falls under:

Under the European Patent Convention, when a claim in one particular category (see below), e.g. a process claim, depends on a claim from a different category, e.g. a product claim, it is not considered to be a dependent claim but an independent claim. Under U.S. law, this is still counted as a dependent claim, regardless of the class change.

However, I can't understand why there is a "class change" in this case.

1 Answer 1


It is flat wrong. You are correct, a claim of one statutory class cannot depend from a claim of a different statuary class. In this case the wording of claim 18 is actually apparatus wording so the only thing really wrong is the one word "method". Intel could most likely fix this with a petition for a Certificate of Correction.

Separately, a method claim could say: "gouging a hole in the ground using the apparatus of claim 1."

  • I thought it had to be wrong, but it seemed amazing that a legal team from Intel could have missed this error before submitting, and further amazing that this would not be caught by the USPTO before granting the patent.
    – user8306
    Apr 7, 2014 at 5:06
  • I have heard that there are issued patents with comments like [Hey Tom, what does this paragraph mean?] in them. Intel uses outside firms, mostly medium sized ones, to prosecute its patents.
    – George White
    Apr 8, 2014 at 1:41

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