Patent claims serve to provide notice as to the scope of an invention described in a patent. The claims can be directed to various statutory types, such as an apparatus, article, composition, method, system, or any other patentable subject matter. For example, when the invention is a mechanical device, the claims are generally characterized as apparatus or system type claims, and detecting infringement of such claims can be as simple as finding a similar physical device in the market.

In contrast, software-related inventions can be claimed as a method, as a system that carries out software operations, or as a computer-readable medium (CRM) that contains software instructions, each of which may be infringed in different contexts. This article focuses on different standards for infringement of software patents based on whether the patent has method, system, or CRM claims.

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