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What are independent claims and dependent claims?

The claims section of a patent includes both independent and dependent claims. Independent claims are broader in scope, while dependent claims add additional technical features to further narrow the scope of protection. For example, if the independent claim is for "a cup," dependent claims could be "a glass cup," "a high-stem cup," "a cup with a pattern," "a high-stem glass cup," or "a high-stem glass cup with a pattern," with each claim having a narrower scope of protection than the previous one. A skilled patent attorney will use independent claims to maximize the scope of protection and dependent claims to provide multiple defences. Even if an independent claim is invalidated, dependent claims can provide additional protection, like a set of Russian dolls where even if the outer one is damaged, the smaller ones inside are still intact.

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