- (a) The specification must conclude with a claim particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the applicant regards as his invention or discovery.
- (b) More than one claim may be presented provided they differ substantially from each other and are not unduly multiplied.
- (c) One or more claims may be presented in dependent form, referring back to and further limiting another claim or claims in the same application. Any dependent claim which refers to more than one other claim ("multiple dependent claim") shall refer to such other claims in the alternative only. A multiple dependent claim shall not serve as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim. For fee calculation purposes under § 1.16, a multiple dependent claim will be considered to be that number of claims to which direct reference is made therein. For fee calculation purposes also, any claim depending from a multiple dependent claim will be considered to be that number of claims to which direct reference is made in that multiple dependent claim. In addition to the other filing fees, any original application which is filed with, or is amended to include, multiple dependent claims must have paid therein the fee set forth in § 1.16(j). Claims in dependent form shall be construed to include all the limitations of the claim incorporated by reference into the dependent claim. A multiple dependent claim shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of each of the particular claims in relation to which it is being considered.
- (1) The claim or claims must conform to the invention as set forth in the remainder of the specification and the terms and phrases used in the claims must find clear support or antecedent basis in the description so that the meaning of the terms in the claims may be ascertainable by reference to the description. (See § 1.58(a).)
- (2) See §§ 1.141 to 1.146 as to claiming different inventions in one application.
- (e) Where the nature of the case admits, as in the case of an improvement, any independent claim should contain in the following order:
- (1) A preamble comprising a general description of all the elements or steps of the claimed combination which are conventional or known,
- (2) A phrase such as "wherein the improvement comprises," and
- (3) Those elements, steps and/or relationships which constitute that portion of the claimed combination which the applicant considers as the new or improved portion.
- (f) If there are several claims, they shall be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals.
- (g) The least restrictive claim should be presented as claim number 1, and all dependent claims should be grouped together with the claim or claims to which they refer to the extent practicable.
- (h) The claim or claims must commence on a separate physical sheet or electronic page. Any sheet including a claim or portion of a claim may not contain any other parts of the application or other material.
- (i) Where a claim sets forth a plurality of elements or steps, each element or step of the claim should be separated by a line indentation.
[31 FR 12922, Oct. 4, 1966; 36 FR 12690, July 3, 1971; 37 FR 21995, Oct. 18, 1972; 43 FR 4015, Jan. 31, 1978; para. (c), 47 FR 41272, Sept. 17, 1982, effective Oct. 1, 1982; para. (g) amended, paras. (h) and (i) added, 61 FR 42790, Aug. 19, 1996, effective Sept. 23, 1996; para. (h) revised, 68 FR 38611, June 30, 2003, effective July 30, 2003; para. (h) revised, 68 FR 38611, June 30, 2003, effective July 30, 2003; para. (c) revised, 70 FR 3880, Jan. 27, 2005, effective Dec. 8, 2004; paras. (b) and (c) revised, 72 FR 46716, Aug. 21, 2007 (implementation enjoined and never became effective); paras. (b) and (c) revised, 74 FR 52686, Oct. 14, 2009, effective Oct. 14, 2009 (to remove changes made by the final rules in 72 FR 46716 from the CFR)]