MPEP 2164.08(a)
Single Means Claim

This is the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 08.2017, Last Revised in January 2018

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2164.08(a)    Single Means Claim [R-11.2013]

A single means claim, i.e., where a means recitation does not appear in combination with another recited element of means, is subject to an enablement rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph. In re Hyatt, 708 F.2d 712, 714-715, 218 USPQ 195, 197 (Fed. Cir. 1983) (A single means claim which covered every conceivable means for achieving the stated purpose was held nonenabling for the scope of the claim because the specification disclosed at most only those means known to the inventor.). When claims depend on a recited property, a fact situation comparable to Hyatt is possible, where the claim covers every conceivable structure (means) for achieving the stated property (result) while the specification discloses at most only those known to the inventor.