A patent (or a claim of a patent) may be held invalid if the claim language and/or the specification describes and/or claims an invention that simply does not work. In particular in the United States such a situation causes the patent (or the claim at issue) to be invalid under the utility requirements of §101 of the Patent Act and the description requirements of §112. Outside litigation, an innocent error in the specifications or drawings of a patent that render the patent nonsensical or inoperative can be corrected by a reissue of the patent with corrections; however the patent holder must surrender the patent during the reissue process.

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