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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

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

We are in a five-part series about baseball, one of my favorite sports, and you may know I’m a Seattle native, so I’m a big fan of the Mariners. So go Mariners, hats off to you! Put in the comments below who your favorite baseball teams are, and we’ve been working this week on thinking about the sport that we know and love. How has it innovated? What are some different ways that we see the game being played and recorded, shown, even on TV, with these special effects? The sport has evolved a lot, impressively, even in a game that’s over 200 years old, the different moves we’ve made.

So we’re still talking about this invention. This is the one that was patented just this year, February 2018, on this swing apparatus. You know a baseball player, right? They’re swinging a bat. This is the apparatus that will help them to know how to hit and strike a baseball at the right angle and timing and so forth. So this device, that’s an apparatus, the way they’ve described it is all-inclusive.

What I want to look at is what is owned by this inventor. When you look at a patent and what they actually own, you need to go to the claims. Okay, we’ve looked at this before this week. I want to draw your attention to claims 2 & 3. So we’re gonna take a look at those on the screen, and I want you to pull this up on your own. Go to Google Patents and pull this patent number up: 9889360. Pull up the full PDF version so you can follow along with us. Pause this recording if you need to. It just so you can take a moment to actually learn a little bit about patent claims.

Alright, so let’s get to claim two. Look at claim two. You can see it’s got a nice preamble, and it goes into a full paragraph. What’s important to understand about claims two and three, and four for that matter, is that they’re actually dependent claims. They all depend on claim one. Claim one is an independent claim; it stands on its own. So claims two, three, and four, they simply modify, they add subject matter to the claim, and make it fact more narrow.

The first notion is that, oh wow, there’s more words here, there’s more rights. And that’s actually the opposite, it’s true. The fewer words in a claim, the broader the rights. So this is a dependent claim. It adds more subject matter, and it makes it a more narrow version. But you’ve got to read patent claims very carefully. That’s one of the major lessons of today is to look, take a look at claim two and claim three.

At first glance, they’re identical, right? They mean word for word. So you’ve gotta have a very careful eye as to what words are different. As I found on my second reading through those paragraphs is that just two words are different: the words “same” and “were” different in those paragraphs, and they describe the vertical positioning of the support members that hold up the string that goes between the two balls. The difference is whether the ball and each post are symmetrical or asymmetrical. That’s it, that’s the only difference between those two dependent claims.

Well, I should say, diving through claims, you know, I’m getting to know patent lingo better. It’s gonna really embolden you and hope you understand how to do things like patent searching down the road. It makes you more knowledgeable when you finally do work with a patent attorney to help you craft specifications and claim language. It’s fun, you know? When you get down to it, it’s exciting to know that you can still innovate, you know, in a busy, old-time sport like baseball.

If you’ve got any questions or if anybody you know has follow-up about maybe my invention is patentable, give us a call. Our firm does the free 30-minute consultation, and we’d be happy to do that with you or any of your friends. So hope you all have a wonderful day. Thanks for tuning in for this version of Bold Today’s Show. I’m your host J.D. Houvener. Go big, go bold.

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