Staying above water

When you file a patent, you are claiming property. It is not your description of the invention, but the claims in your patent which declare exactly what area you are claiming. The broader your claims, the more territory you can get, but the harder it will be to defend your borders against hostile invasions by existing patents and other prior work.

The more narrow and focused your claims, the smaller your territory, but the easier it will be to defend.

Today it occurred to me that a patent is like an island floating in the sea. Broader claims give you a bigger island, but there’s a greater chance you will end up under water. Narrower claims give you less room to build your little hut, but a better guarantee that you’ll be ok in the rainy season.

There’s something to be said for safely narrow claims. You never know when a storm is going to hit.

This happens more often than you might think, since big corporations have been known to fill their shores with wave making machines.

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