Patent Bots - Essential Tools for Patent Prosecution

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Automated Claim Renumbering

 The Application Drafter tool in the Patent Bots Word add-in (see installation instructions) now has tools to automatically renumber your patent claims.

For most of my patent drafting career, I have used Word automated numbering for patent claims. As you all know, Word automated numbering is annoying in that it never works how you want it to.

People with more courage than I do also use Word references to get Word to properly update claim dependencies, but most people waste more time than they save in trying to do this.

We now recommend that you do all your claim numbering manually, and let Patent Bots automate it for you!

We have two types of automated claim numbering that we'll now describe. For both, we recommend that you turn on Word track changes first so you can exactly what changes we make.

Claim Renumbering

Our claim renumbering does two things:

  • Makes sure that all your claims are in numerical order.
  • Automatically updates your claim dependencies.

The most important thing to remember, is that your claim numbers must always be unique.

Suppose you have the following claims:

1. A method for foo.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein bar.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein baz.

and you want to insert a new claim between claims 1 and 2. 

To do this, you insert a new claim with a unique number:

1. A method for foo.

10. The method of claim 1 wherein spam.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein bar.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein baz.

After clicking the Renumber Claims button, your claims will look like this:

1. A method for foo.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein spam.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein bar.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein baz.

Note that the claims are now numbered correctly and new claim 4 now properly depends from claim 3 instead of claim 2.

The reason that we require all your claim numbers to be unique is that this ensures we can accurately update your claim dependencies. If two claims have the same number then we don't know which one to use.

Claim Set Merging

This is a little different. We don't require that your claims have unique numbers, but we do require that each claim set is already numbered correctly.

Suppose you have the following claims:

1. A method for foo.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein bar.

1. A method for baz.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein spam.

We have two claim sets where each claim set is numbered correctly. After clicking the Merge Claim Sets button, your claims will look like this:

1. A method for foo.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein bar.

3. A method for baz.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein spam.

 You now have one claim set with correct numbering.

There are some limitations to both renumbering tools:

  • You can't use any Word automated numbering.
  • Claim ranges and multiple dependent claims are not currently supported but we will support that in the future.

We hope you like this new addition!