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Means Plus Function Patent Claims: New USPTO Guidance, Implications for Patent Counsel and Applicants

A live 90-minute premium CLE video webinar with interactive Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Monday, May 20, 2024 (in 1 day)

1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will guide patent counsel on means-plus-function (MPF) claims and the USPTO's recent guidance. The panel will discuss the implications of the guidance for patent counsel and applicants. The panel will offer best practices to overcome the challenges of MPF claims and leverage 112(f) and functional claims.

Description

In March 2024, the USPTO issued guidance for examining patent claims with MPF and step-plus-function limitations under Section 112(f). The guidance discussed interpretation of MPF claims under Section 112(f), which permits drafters to "recite a function in a claim and rely on the specification for the corresponding structure, material, or acts that perform the function and equivalents to the disclosed structure, material, or acts."

The guidance instructs examiners to use a three-prong test to determine if Section 112(f) is involved. The guidance highlights claim interpretation and the importance of a clear record as well as the need to provide sufficient support to meet the requirements of definiteness, written description, and enablement.

Nearly all technological fields use MPF claiming. MPF claims can provide more protection for patent applicants than other claims. Counsel should keep in mind how claims are framed under Section 112(f), especially with MPF claims. It is essential for patent counsel to include adequate and precise descriptions in the patent specification to support the claimed functions.

Listen as our authoritative panel of patent attorneys examines MPF claims and the USPTO's recent guidance. The panel will discuss the implications of the guidance for patent counsel and applicants. The panel will offer best practices to overcome the challenges of MPF claims and leverage 112(f) and functional claims.

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Outline

  1. MPF claims and the benefits of using them
  2. USPTO guidance
  3. Section 112(f) three-prong analysis
  4. Best practices

Benefits

The panel will review these and other noteworthy issues:

  • What are the benefits and limitations of using MPF patent claims?
  • What are the potential implications of the USPTO's decision in Xencor?
  • What are the alternatives if MPF is not available?

Faculty

Brougher, Joanna
Joanna T. Brougher, Esq., MPH

Owner & Principal
BioPharma Law Group

Ms. Brougher is a patent attorney who focuses on all aspects of services related to patents in the areas of...  |  Read More

Irving, Thomas
Thomas L. Irving

Partner
The Marbury Law Group

Mr. Irving has 47 years of experience in the field of IP law. His practice includes due diligence, patent prosecution,...  |  Read More

O’Brien, Michelle
Michelle E. O'Brien

Partner
The Marbury Law Group

Ms. O’Brien has more than 20 years of experience representing domestic and foreign clients of all sizes in...  |  Read More

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