I have a list of words that are just plain prohibited in a patent application. I know that other people may use these Prohibited Words, but I have tried to rid them from my lexicon. Some of this may reek of slimy lawyer lingo, but it all has legitimate and practical reasons. This is a first post of several talking about the Prohibited Words.
The first group of Prohibited Words includes those that make definitive and absolute requirement of something in the written description. These are words and phrases like “must,” “have to,” “should,” “ought to,” “necessary,” “requires,” or any other similar words or phrases. In every situation, the proper term is “may,” “could,” “potentially,” or a similar phrase. I also try to avoid words like “never” and “always” as well.
When describing how something works, it is very easy to say that something (a machine, process, circuit, compound, etc.) must include certain elements. The problem with such statements is that they inherently limit the invention to those elements.