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A transitional phrase, in United States patent law, is a phrase that links the preamble of a patent claim to the specific elements set forth in the claim which define what the invention itself actually is. The transitional phrase acts as a limitation on the claim, indicating whether a similar device, method, or composition infringes the patent if it contains more or fewer elements than the claim in the patent.
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In the following example, "consisting of" is the transitional phrase between "an item" and "one or more parts":
EXAMPLE: an item consisting of one or more parts.
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