Claim Tree, Claim Map

Both a graphic and a conceptual way of showing the relationship between patent claims. Because a single independent claim can have many dependent and sub-dependent claims, the collection of claims are sometimes drawn as a tree, with the independent claim as the trunk and dependent claims forming boughs and branches. In analyzing a patent, the tree is looked at in different ways: infringement is determined by first looking at independent claims—if a product does not infringe an independent claim, it cannot infringe the dependent claims that are by definition more limited in scope; invalidity on prior art grounds requires each dependent claim to be addressed, since the more limited scope of a dependent claim means that it might be valid even when the independent claim is not. See Claim.

Related Terms