Can a Plurality of Patent Lawyers Writing A Plurality of Patents be Wrong?

Perhaps patent lawyers most favorite word is “plurality.” It is a convenient way to say “two or more” in a patent.  Its long standing use (the word plurality appears in 2,503,611 patents since 1976 — just under 50% of patents issuing) and well established construction by the Federal Circuit (see, e.g., Dayco Products, Inc. v. Total Containment, Inc., 258 F.3d 1317 (Fed. Cir. 2001) make it a reasonable choice in a patent application.

While “plurality” may not be as lay person friendly as “two or more,” it is not obscure, and is easily explained in a claim construction.  Moreover “two or more” might not be given the same range of equivalents as “plurality.”  Thus, the plurality of patent attorneys who use the word, probably have it right, although it would be hard to fault a prosecutor who preferred to use “two or more.”