The Specific Exclusion Principle: Exception to the Doctrine of Equivalents
Yan Wenjun Yin Zongping
With the doctrine of equivalents, the scope of patent protection covers the literal meaning and the equivalents of claims. However, if the patent applicant clearly limits the scope of protection, a particular structure can be deemed outside the reach of the doctrine of equivalents because that structure is clearly excluded from the claims. It is called Specific Exclusion Principle, established by the courts of the United States, Japan, Britain and other countries . The Specific Exclusion Principle preserves the public-notice function while gives proper protection to patents. China should establish the Specific Exclusion Principle, as limitation to the doctrine of equivalents.