All-Elements Rule Law and Legal Definition

All elements rule is a principle applicable to patents law, according to which each element of a claim must be present in an allegedly infringing device in order to establish literal infringement. This rule acts to limit the doctrine of equivalents. An overly broad application of the all elements rule may improperly "swallow the doctrine of equivalents entirely" and limit infringement to a repeated analysis of literal infringement rather than the claim's constituent elements.

The following are examples of case law discussing the rule:

To find infringement under the all elements rule, an accused device must contain each limitation of the claim, either literally or by an equivalent. [TIP Sys., LLC v. Phillips & Brooks/Gladwin, Inc., 529 F.3d 1364 (Fed. Cir. 2008)]

Under the "all elements" rule, the doctrine of equivalents must be applied to individual elements of the claim, not to the invention as a whole. The all-elements rule may foreclose resort to the doctrine of equivalents where the evidence is such that no reasonable jury could conclude that an element of an accused device is equivalent to an element called for in the claim, or that the theory of equivalence to support the conclusion of infringement otherwise lacks legal sufficiency.[E-Pass Techs., Inc. v. 3Com Corp., 473 F.3d 1213 (Fed. Cir. 2007)]