It's a common trick. The patent attorney doesn't know how dumb the examiner is, but it's a fair bet he's not that smart (otherwise he would be listed as the inventor, not the examiner). So first you write "I invented the wheel", then you start with "the wheel of claim 1 fitted with a tyre", onto " the wheel of claim 1 fitted with wheel nuts" etc. The examiner comes back with "claim 1 isn't new, but it would be if combined with claims 14 and 17". So you get the examiner to define your limitations for you. Occasionally you come across a really dumb examiner who allows claim 1 as is (it has happened in my industry). Such a patent would never stand up in court, but that isn't the examiners' problem.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.