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Abstract

The Federal Circuit has become much less willing to enforce a claim that is broader than the specific embodiments described in the patent. Unfortunately, its decisions provide no guidelines for identifying such situations. Nor is the court consistent in its attacks on the problem. Sometimes it simply construes the claim as limited to the specific embodiment and finds no infringement. Sometimes it invalidates the claim for want of an adequate written description or for insufficient scope of enablement. It is suggested that a careful use of the reverse doctrine of equivalents would create stability and predictability with respect to this very difficult issue.

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