Patents are widely recognized to provide legal protections to a firms inventions. However, such protections are dependent upon claims that delineate the exclusive rights of the patent. This study examines theoretically and empirically the role of exploitive and explorative search on a firms patent claims in the biotechnology industry. We argue that firms are subject to boundedly rational behaviors where firms are unable to cite their patents prior art and therefore are unable to identify with their patents novel claims. A firms exploitive and explorative search is offered as a solution to overcoming such bounded rationality. We argue and find that a biotechnology firms exploitive and explorative search has an inverted u-shaped relationship to a firms patent claims. A key contribution of this study is that a firms citation behavior is not only attributed to strategic and legal motivations, but also be to behavioral explanations.