Typical Parts of a Patent Application
Filling a patent application is an art that requires well acquaintances with patent regulatory norms of the respective jurisdiction and technical knowledge of the invention in question. Since it goes a lot in filling a successful patent application it is important for inventors, companies, and organization to do their homework thoroughly.
For example, conducting a full patentability search, knowing the regulatory framework of the respective jurisdiction, creating list of potential patent databases, formulating a robust patent search strategy prior to investing resources into an invention is important. Filing a patent application without considering all above-mentioned elements could put you in trouble. Apart from those above-mentioned elements, it is important for an applicant to ensure that various components of a patent application are intact. Missing even a single component would put your goal in jeopardy.
This article is an attempt to let inventors know typical parts of a patent application that should accompany a filing process. So, without much ado let’s go through those important elements.
Important Elements of a Patent Application
Claims- These are the most important element of a patent application as it determines the scope of the patent. Anything that is not mentioned in this part is beyond the scope of the protection and thus can’t be considered during any stage of prosecution and litigation.
In other words, the purpose of the claims is to define which subject-matter is protected by the patent (or sought to be protected by the patent application). This is termed as the “notice function” of a patent claim—to warn others of what they must not do if they are to avoid infringement liability.
Patent claims are mainly of two types a) the independent claims, which stand on their own, and b) the dependent claims which depend on a single claim or on several claims and generally express particular embodiments as fallback positions.
Description or Specification – The specification also called as disclosure is another important part of a patent application and much of the success of an invention depends on the written description of the invention. The patent specification is drafted both to satisfy the written requirements for patentability, as well as to define the scope of the claims and thus it is important for inventors to draft it prudently and consciously. A single missing element could make your whole attempt an exercise in futility.
Drawings – Drawings for patents, though are not mandatory as per United States Patent Office, still, it can help a lot in streamlining the whole patent granting process. Creating drawings for patents is an art that requires specialized skills in patent drawing as well as the acquaintances with the patent regulatory norms. Applicants can add as much number of drawings as possible but they need to ensure that they are presented in the specified format as sought by the respective patent office. For example, patent illustrations for USPTO have different requirements and that of Chinese patent office is different and it is expected that every applicant should create their drawings accordingly.
For those who are uninitiated, creating drawings for patents would be overwhelming and thus in such a circumstance, they need to consult professional draftspersons who are working in this domain for a considerable period of time.
Background– The background section could be one of the trickiest things in a patent application because here we need to keep a balance with what we know and what we serve. Putting everything out in one go could be detrimental to your application. A background is supposed to describe the current state of the art and how your invention is addressing those issues.
Abstract- This Abstract is a concise summary of the invention disclosed in the application. This summary enables the Patent Office (and the public) to quickly determine the nature of the disclosed subject matter.
Summary- A summary like in any other document provides the gist of the invention described in the patent application and should be presented in a concise and accurate way. Though it is concise it should describe the whole invention without losing much of the subject matter.