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Means Plus Function Claims

Jim Ruttler, Patent Attorney

Posted Saturday, April 17, 2010 by Jim Ruttler

Applicants should be careful when using means plus function language to claim computer systems and software. The Federal Circuit has recent held that means plus function claims will be invalidated if they are not supported by specific hardware components in the specification. It is not enough to merely describe a general purpose computer in the specification. Rather than claiming using means plus function language, applicants should consider claiming the method steps and tie the method steps to a physical structure such as computer readable storage media.

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