This is another installment in a series about Claim Charts. Part 1, The Claim Chart: Origins of a Patent Litigation Tool, provides a brief history of the Claim Chart. Part 2, Do the Patent Local Rules Bind You, discusses the importance of knowing your local rules. Part 3, 5 Tips to Get Your Claim Chart in Top Shape, gave you the Do's of claim chart drafting. Today we provide you the Don'ts with 4 Claim Chart Mistakes to Avoid.
1. Excess Detail
The purpose of a Claim Chart is to present claim analysis in an easy to read format. The Claim Chart should be a high level, particularized analysis of the patent claims at issue. It is meant to be a summary of positions that might be referenced in other documents. The Claim Chart should not be used to present each discrete theory of infringement/invalidity. Verbose, Detailed analysis can serve to undermine this purpose. The typical table format is not well suited to present walls of text and the reader can get lost in the details. The Claim Chart is meant to be a way to better understand the subject matter in the context of claim limitations, not to be a detailed presentation of all your arguments. Use the Claim Chart as a reference point for the reader to anchor a related contentions document, don't bog them down in excess detail.
As mentioned in Part 3, excessive visuals serve only to clutter a Claim Chart while consuming valuable space in a document. Claim Charts are meant to provide a reference to the reader and support your detailed arguments in the body of your document. If graphics/figures are necessary to support your arguments, consider placing them in the body of the document, where they can be presented with an associated argument, rather than in the Claim Chart. Graphics/Figures can often create formatting issues in Claim Charts as well which leads us to the next Don't.
3. Poor Formatting
Formatting is an underrated aspect of the Claim Chart. On its surface, the formatting looks pretty straightforward, make a table and fill in the columns. As mentioned above, there is slightly more to it than that. Visual presentation can influence how well the reader absorbs the information contained within the Claim Chart, and can also make it easier for them to use as a reference. Walls of text and excess visuals can jumble the message you are trying to send and may make it harder to present your case.
4. Missing Required Information
Most importantly, be sure to include all the information required by your Patent Local Rules. Failure to include required information can negatively impact your case. Claim Charts aren't meant to be a difficult exercise, so there is no excuse to forget something. It may sometimes be difficult to balance this with the above tips, but the required information is your most important consideration.
Now that you know the 4 Claim Chart mistakes to avoid, join us again for Part 5 in our series where we will discuss some formatting tips and provide templates for your Claim Charts.