What Does the Word “Comprises” Mean in a Patent

Posted by Michael Shimokaji | Jan 07, 2018 | 0 Comments

QUESTION: In a patent application, does “comprises a pulley” protect against multiple pulleys? In the claim section, e.g. a device comprises A, B, and a pulley which is mounted on… In the spec section: In an embodiment, the device has A, B, and 1 pulley, however, in another embodiment, the device has A, B, and more than 1 pulley. Is it ok use “comprises a pulley” in the claim or should I use “comprises at least one pulley”? If someone make a device with A, B, and multiple pulleys, does “comprises a pulley” protect my patent?

ANSWER: Yes, “comprises a pulley” would include multiple pulleys. The word “comprises” in a patent means the minimum existence of something. For example, “comprises a pulley” means there is at least one pulley, but there can be more.

About the Author

Michael Shimokaji

Michael’s expertise includes the strategic development of patent and trademark portfolios. He identifies those patents and trademarks that are valuable to his clients by providing them with a competitive advantage. Then, Michael obtains patent and trademark registrations in the US and abroad.


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