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Joined: 2014-09-02 19:15:27
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Is it appropriate to claim something using the word "may," as in "a semiconductor manufacturing process that may contain at least 15 individual layer masks?" Would doing so hazard indefiniteness?


2014-09-02 19:22:07
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Joined: 2011-12-24 18:23:00
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Conditional claiming is not per se indefinite, but your example doesn't really sound conditional since it doesn't give conditions. When are there 15 masks, and when aren't there? When are there 14 or 16 or 0? Claim doesn't provide notice to potential infringer as to what conditions spark infringement; also, there may be a problem that such a claim can be broadly read as requiring only "a semiconductor manufacturing process" and thus is more likely to be anticipated or obvious. "Language that suggests or makes optional but does not require steps to be performed or does not limit a claim to a particular structure does not limit the scope of a claim or claim limitation." MPEP 2106 II C.

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2014-09-08 12:03:41
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Joined: 2012-05-23 10:05:35
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No.
Yes.
Use something more like, "a semiconductor manufacturing process containing between 5 and 15 individual layer masks" although I think that claim needs more help in other areas.


2014-09-08 12:40:05
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Joined: 2011-12-26 16:53:41
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Chatman wrote:
Is it appropriate to claim something using the word "may," as in "a semiconductor manufacturing process that may contain at least 15 individual layer masks?" Would doing so hazard indefiniteness?


It doesn't "hazard" indefiniteness so much as it invites, or even demands, indefiniteness. IMHO, the words "may" or "can" should never appear in a claim. A claim recites a list of elements that are required for infringement. There should be no room for doubt as to whether the element is required or not.

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2014-09-15 11:48:22
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