Lake Orion, MI asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Michigan

Q: Why do the computer software related patents have 3 groups similar claims? For example: US9311057B2

Is it always good to claim 3 aspects in computer software related patent?

1 Lawyer Answer
Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: You have good observation skills.

An applicant can have has as many claims in the patent application as is desired. I've seen patents and patent applications with just one or two claims, but I've also seen patents with hundreds of claims. Typically, a patent has one or more independent claims, and then a whole bunch of dependent claims based on those independent claims.

An applicant can submit as many claims as the applicant want, as long as they are paid for them. In the US, an application can have up to 20 claims for free, and any additional ones the applicant needs to pay about $50. Likewise, up to 3 of those 20 claims can be independent claims; any additional independent claims require a payment.

Although the extra claim fees are fairly small, many patent attorneys nonetheless tend to submit patent applications with 3 independent and 20 total claims. Most of the time claims are added or subtracted from the claim sets during the prosecution, but frequently the three independent claims survive, thus you'll see what you've noticed: many patents have 3 independent claims and some dependent claims.

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