Odd descriptions of matter and the peculiar turn of phrase abound in the chemical patent literature. Here are just a few of my favorites (italics mine)-

  • “… wherein the substituents have the following significations:”
  • ionic layered compositions  (translation- clay)
  • Donor solvents (translation- certainly an ether, perhaps an ester)
  • A non-coordinating dispersant (translation- a hydrocarbon solvent)

The deal with the devil that you make in getting a patent is this- in exchange for a 20 year monopoly, you must disclose to the public enough enabling information that a confused citizen could determine if he/she is infringing on the patent and reasonably avoid infringement. But this does not stop the use of opaque vocabulary and unusual juxtapositions because, after all, one skilled in the art should be able to decode the many obfuscations applied to their area of specialty. Shouldn’t they…? Or, perhaps the obtuse vocabulary is meant to daze and confuse the judge and jury. Hmmm.