Prosecution history estoppel, also known as file-wrapper estoppel, is a term used in United States patent law to indicate that a person who has filed a patent application, and then makes amendments to the application to accommodate the patent law, has no cause of action for infringement to the pre-amendment patent claims that were amended.

Although primarily a US term, questions of whether, or the extent to which the prosecution history should be relevant for determining the extent of protection of a patent also arise outside the US

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosecution_history_estoppel

在申請專利的過程中,申請人/發明人可能會需要和美國專利商標局的審查委員進行溝通,以釐清本發明和一些相關前案的差異處。在這個溝通過程中,申請人/發明人所講過的話,或是針對專利範圍所做過的修改,都會被用來認定專利權的範圍。

舉例來說,如果本來申請範圍較大,但是後來經過修改而變小,那麼以後就不可以再回來主張較大的範圍。禁反言就是禁止反悔講過的話的意思,講過了就算。

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