5 Star Background, 1 Star Patent

As we have said several times, the Background in a patent application is trap for unwary, and in general the less said the better.

U.S. Patent No. 8,356,419 has an interesting take on the Background, relying on consumer reviews of the prior art:

Whether in the applicant’s own words or in the adopted words of consumer reviews, criticisms of the prior art can have a limiting effect on claim scope, because why would the inventor want to claim something that he or she criticized or believe in adequate?

It is unlikely that a Background section has ever worked to the benefit of a patent applicant, but there are multiple examples of where the Background has disadvantaged the applicant, whether through “admitted prior art” or limitation of the claims through criticism of the prior art.

The lesson remains, the less said, the better.