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The Numbers Game in Patenting Chemical Compositions

SpecialChem / Dr. Theodore Gottlieb – Aug 14, 2007

A nuts-and-bolts issue that may arise during the prosecution of chemical patent applications relates to claims1 directed to chemical mixtures or compositions wherein specific concentration ranges of components are included to distinguish the claims from the prior art.2 Claims that include numerical ranges of various types (e.g., concentrations, pH values, tensile strengths, elasticity, etc.) are frequently encountered in chemical arts that are largely predicated on reformulating compositions of known components. Because the individual components are usually already known in the art, as are the corresponding methodologies for preparing and testing these compositions, the level of innovation required to develop patentable improvements is somewhat less than, for example, actually synthesizing or purifying a new active chemical agent. It is not surprising that the number of patent applications related to these chemical sub-specialties is rather large thereby creating what is referred to as a crowded art.

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