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Dependent claims serve a few purposes. One is as a fallback in case the broader independent claim is rejected during prosecution or more importantly during enforcement. Another is a concern that the broader claim might be hard to grasp but the dependent claim hits you over the head in a case that is likely to occur. There is also something called claim ...


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If you are overwhelmed by the vast number of patents, there is not much of a cure. On the other hand if you have a specific invention you have made and want to find out if it is patentable, you can do a patentablity search - another answer from Eric Shain outlines how you could go about it. I have experienced a phenomena of dead-on prior art existing but not ...


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The short answer is you perform a patent search. You are absolutely correct to suggest this is a substantial undertaking. I am not a professional patent searcher, but I've done my fair share. You can certainly start with Google Patents, but I've found The Lens to have some useful additional features. My process is generally to try different search terms to ...


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