Structure of patent claims in Nicaragua.

Article 25 of the Nicaraguan Patent Law (Law No. 354 of 2000, as amended by Laws No. 579 of 2006 and No. 634 of 2007) provides that claims must be clear, precise and supported by the patent specification, and shall define the essential characteristics of the subject matter to be protected by the patent.

The Regulation of the Patent Law (Decree No. 88-2001 as amended by Decree No. 16-2006) sets out the rules for patent claims:

• Claims must be written on the basis of the technical characteristics of the invention, without containing examples, or relative or imprecise terms, unless they were not precisely defined in the specification.

• Unless the nature of the invention makes a different wording desirable, claims must be written in the so-called “two-part form”. The first part (a) consists of a preamble indicating the technical characteristics of the invention that are part of the prior art; and a second part (b) (the characterizing portion) sets out the technical characteristics that the invention adds to the state of the art, and which together with those mentioned in paragraph (a), are to be protected.

• Claims must be numbered consecutively. The Patent Office does not accept claims that are not consecutively numbered, which may occur after amending the set. If one or more claims are deleted, or new claims are added, the whole set must be consecutively renumbered, and dependencies must be fixed.

• If drawings have been submitted, the technical features mentioned in the claims may be followed by reference numerals of the corresponding features shown in the drawings. Such reference numerals shall be included in parentheses. Reference numerals shall not be included when they are not necessary for a better understanding of the claim.

A claim is considered to be independent when it defines the subject matter without reference to another claim. A dependent claim is one that comprises or refers to another claim. When the dependent claim relates to two or more claims, it will be considered as a multiple dependent claim.

The preamble of a dependent claim must indicate the number of the claim that serves as the basis, and must specify the additional characteristic, variation, modality or alternative embodiment of the invention referred to in the respective base claim.

A dependent claim includes all the features and limitations of the base claim, and must be set forth below the claims on which it is based.

Base claims in a multiple dependent claim must be referenced in the alternative, and shall not refer back to another multiple dependent claim.

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