The patent claim or claims must particularly point out and distinctly claim the subject matter which is regarded as the invention. The claims define the scope of the protection of the patent. Whether a patent will be granted is determined, in large measure, by the choice of wording of the claims. The claims of a patent are somewhat like the legal description in a deed because they describe the metes and bounds of the invention.
A nonprovisional application for a utility patent must contain at least one claim. The claim or claims section must begin on a separate sheet. If there are several claims, they shall be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals, with the least restrictive claim presented as claim number 1. The claims section must begin with a statement such as “What I claim as my invention is: . . .” or “I (We) claim: . . .” followed by the recitation of the particular matter which you regard as your invention. One or more claims may be presented in dependent form, referring back to and further limiting another claim or claims in the same application.
All dependent claims should be grouped together with the claim or claims to which they refer to the extent practicable. Any dependent claim which refers to more than one other claim (“a multiple dependent claim”) shall refer to such other claims in the alternative only. Each claim should be a single sentence, and where a claim sets forth a number of elements or steps, each element or step of the claim should be separated by a line indentation. The fee required to be submitted with a nonprovisional utility patent application is, in part, determined by the number of claims, independent claims, and dependent claims.