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"In any case, congrats and good luck with your pending apps."

Thanks Sparty - and to you as well.
FWIW we do similar things in my prof circles - monitoring opportunities and attempting to seize ones of interest (and value added - we're not into IP poaching for the sake of being annoying). And we make constructing good (yes, as broad as possible) claims and of course dealing with the PTO's reaction to them all part of the fun challenge. While one of us (all engineers) decided to go for the clerk's exam (and passed) we pretty much are finding success before that and without needing legal counsel.....course again that's the obtaining of patents which is what we were talking about here - not defending them in court but at least amongst competitors ;-) We know our limits but again are no slouches or slobs on engineering solid claims.
Cheers,
B
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