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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Hi, I’m J.D. Houvener, your host of the Bold Today Show where you, the inventor, entrepreneur, and business owner, get your daily inspiration to make the world a better place.

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Happy Friday, everybody! We’re here at the end, unfortunately, of our 10-part series honoring one of my favorite inventors, Lonnie Johnson, out of Mobile, Alabama. He owns over 120 patents, as we talked about this whole week and the week prior. The Super Soaker invention is now part of the Toy Hall of Fame, believe it or not, and it’s an awesome, awesome toy. Very fun! We were diving into each different part of the patent document these past few weeks, and today, we’re finally at my favorite part, which is the heart of every patent, and that’s the set of claims. What does the invention own at the end of the day, by the inventor or the company that owns the invention when we’re all said and done?

So, we’ll take a look. Here is a picture of claim one. Claim one is the only independent claim within this patent set. So, Mr. Johnson is the inventor of this set of claims. There are 18 total claims, 17 of which are dependent, and they all depend on claim 1. You can see claim 1 is a bit lengthy; it’s got different sections of it. There are a few things I want to point out to you. As you’ll see, they use very traditional phrasing, where they use words like “comprising.” The word “comprising” is very important; it means that the invention may include all of the things listed and others. They’re not limiting the invention to only contain, for example, the word “containing.” The reason they use “comprising” is that there are at least these structural embodiments that make up the invention. The attorney goes through, and, as you can see through (a) through (p), basically, those are all the different sections of the water gun to identify all the elements, and some of the elements, the lines of the claim, discuss words like “means.” When they say “means,” it’s a special type of language that refers back to the specification, refers back to the detailed description, and that is where much more detail is given about what types of structure could be used, whether that’s a line or whether that’s a mechanical or even a hydraulic component to release that water. All they’re claiming is some sort of means to do this function. It’s a nice way to actually broaden the patent scope and increase the value of the patent overall.

The next thing I want to point out to you is how each of these claims are dependent on one another. If you look right down there at claim 2, you can see that the toy gun is making its claim there. It says everything under claim 2 is gonna be everything including claim 1 and then some. So, by using this language, they are including everything that was described in claim 1 and adding more information. Don’t forget that the longer a patent claim, the smaller the patent scope. The more words that have been inserted, that means that an infringer would have to go to show that every single element of that claim is being met in order to prove infringement. So, a nice short set of claims, it’s easier to show infringement, a longer set, of course, it’s going to be harder to show.

I hope you have fun looking at this patent with me over the past two weeks; it has been a blast. Again, if you have any questions that still linger, you’re welcome to look on our website at boldpatents.com with a link right there for you to self-schedule a free 30-minute consultation with one of our patent attorneys. And again, I invite you to please forward this series or the email on to someone who might be able to benefit from hearing from me a bit of a tidbit about patent law, just to nudge them along and get them on to the next step of their journey. That’d be very, very grateful for that. So, wish y’all have a wonderful weekend, and again, it’s been great talking with you. I’m your host, J.D. Houvener, of the Bold Today Show. Go big, go bold!

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So again, thanks for listening and being a part of the Bold Today’s Show. I’m your host, J.D. Houvener. Be bold today at boldip.com.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at https://boldip.com/contact/