MPEP Q & A 253: What must a claim in dependent form contain?

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Question:

What must a claim in dependent form contain?

Answer:

A claim in dependent form shall contain:

  • (i) a reference to a claim previously set forth, and
  • (ii) then specify a further limitation of the subject matter claimed.

Chapter Details:

The answer to this question can be found in chapter 600 of the MPEP. This chapter covers Parts, Form, and Content of Application.

The answer is from the 9th Edition, Revision 10.2019. Depending on future changes to the MPEP, the question and answer may or may not be applicable in later Editions or revisions.

Section Summary:

This question and answer come from section 608.01(n) of the MPEP.  The following is a brief summary of section 608.01(n).

608.01(n) Dependent Claims

This section outlines in detail the rules of dependent claims including multiple dependent claims. It gives examples of acceptable multiple dependent claims and examples of unacceptable multiple dependent claims. There is also a brief discussion of restriction practice, how multiple dependent claims are handled at the PTO (by both the Technology Center Staff and Examiners).

In addition, this section includes examples of claims that will be objected to and the current practice where each embodiment of each claim must be treated on an individual basis. Also included is a section on calculating fees for multiple dependent claims as well as an example.

The treatment of improper dependent claims is discussed including infringement tests, claim form and arrangement, and rejection and objection.

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