For filing national phase patent applications in Australia or New Zealand, we often recommend the filing of one or more omnibus claims during the prosecution of the patent application. We recommend filing one or more of the omnibus claims during prosecution of the patent application to avoid payment of official voluntary amendment fees.
An omnibus claim is a type of claim that refers to the description, drawings and/or examples described in the patent specification without expressly defining any technical features of the claimed product or process.
An omnibus claim will usually take the form of “A …. as substantially described herein with reference to and as illustrated by the accompanying drawings.”
The omnibus claim defines the essential features of the invention in terms of the preferred embodiment “as described/shown”. This type of claim is relatively narrow in scope but may be valid whereas other claims of broader scope may fail. Furthermore, the omnibus claim may be broader than one or more of the dependent claims as the omnibus claim is not limited to include non-essential features.
The advantage of the omnibus claim is that it provides a claim layer that may be held to be valid and infringed while all the other claims are held invalid.