August 2, 2023

“Lexicography: The Ultimate Superpower” – Harness IP’s Bryan Wheelock in The Patent Lawyer

Harness IP principal Bryan Wheelock examines the sometimes-overlooked tool patent applicants can use to overcome “the inherent limitations of language to describe inventions.”

“Patent drafters have a superpower. No, we can’t fly (at least not without Southwest Airlines), and no, we aren’t invisible (except, perhaps, in social situations). The superpower we have is the power of lexicography: the power to redefine words and coin new words,” he writes in the latest issue of The Patent Lawyer.

Wheelock, a patent attorney in the firm’s St. Louis office, examines several key aspects to consider when devising descriptive language as a patent is drafted. He also outlines a variety of instances when applicants and drafters do – and do not – opt to exercise their “superpower,” as well as how various jurisdictions interpret patentees’ use of lexicography.

“With a thoughtful understanding of the invention, some careful lexicography, and a little luck, the patent drafter can secure for their client protection for the full scope of the invention,” Wheelock says.

Wheelock prepares and prosecutes U.S. and foreign patent applications for mechanical and electromechanical devices, manufacturing machinery and processes, and metal alloys for clients in the medical device, consumer products, and agrifood tech industries.

The Patent Lawyer is focused on providing news and updates relevant to the patent industry. The full article can be found on its website.