The carrier of a template consists of all of those cells (occupied or empty) that are part of the template. Empty cells in a template's carrier are an important part of the template and must not be ignored: if any of these cells are occupied by the opponent, the template is typically no longer valid.
Two templates overlap if some empty cell belongs to both of their carriers. Care must be taken with overlapping templates: although each template may be valid individually, the overlapping templates may not form a valid connection as a whole. The simplest example of such a situation is the following:
Although 1 is connected to 2 via a valid bridge template, and 2 is connected to 3 via a valid bridge template, 1 is not connected to 3, because the bridges overlap at c3. In fact, if Blue plays at c3, Red cannot defend both bridges in a single move.