Descriptive Strategies in U.S. Patents

Arinas Pellon, Ismael and Sancho Guinda, Carmen (2009). Descriptive Strategies in U.S. Patents. In: "XVII European Symposium on Languages for Specific Purposes 2009", 17/08/2009 - 21/08/2009, Aarhus, Dinamarca.


Title: Descriptive Strategies in U.S. Patents
  • Arinas Pellon, Ismael
  • Sancho Guinda, Carmen
Item Type: Presentation at Congress or Conference (Article)
Event Title: XVII European Symposium on Languages for Specific Purposes 2009
Event Dates: 17/08/2009 - 21/08/2009
Event Location: Aarhus, Dinamarca
Title of Book: Proceedings of the XVII European Symposium on Languages for Specific Purposes 2009
Date: 2009
Faculty: E.T.S.I. Industriales (UPM)
Department: Lingüistica Aplicada a la Ciencia y a la Tecnología
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

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While the knowledge contained in US patents descriptions is essentially the same as that conveyed by textbooks and journal articles (Myers 1995, Owen-Smith 2003), it must be shaped to claim temporary exclusive property over an invention. To effectively safeguard the value of such property, patents must reveal enough to suggest technical feasibility but conceal detail to cloud the specifications making replication easy. Usually co-authored by inventors and lawyers, the genre is therefore expected to hold a subtle interplay between boosting and hedging and gather traits from interdisciplinary discourses (Hyland 2000), in this case technical and legal. The aim of this study in progress is twofold: 1) to identify the linguistic act patterns used to match the requirements of legal patentability and the commercial interests of inventors, and 2) to bridge a gap in the know-how of readers and technical students by determining the discursive moves and interdisciplinary traits of the genre, comparing them with more familiar instances like manuals or specialized publications. To achieve this purpose, a corpus of 343 US electro-mechanical patents has been analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively with concordancing software at a macro (rhetorical) and microlevel (linguistic realizations). At this first stage of the research, the prime focus has been set on the most common boosting and hedging devices which stylistically feature the genre and may constitute a lexical and discursive technolectal repertoire useful for both professionals and engineering students. Among the devices detected, some (e.g. signaling nouns and verbs, repetition, evaluative adjectives and adverbs, inferential markers as code glosses) are signs of a pragmatic deference towards the non-expert members of the discursive community (i.e. lawyers and potential investors) and prove to be efficient means to overcome knowledge asymmetries.

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Item ID: 5784
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Deposited by: Memoria Investigacion
Deposited on: 21 Jan 2011 11:50
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2016 14:30
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