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Help writing patent claims

Claims entirely define the range of what a patent protects

A nonprovisional application for a public-service corporation patent must do at least one `` independent '' claim, Independent claims are the most general statement of what is claimed as the innovation in the patent application. By and large, you can anticipate to meet expostulations if you file an patent application with a figure of independent claims that are wholly unrelated, but many innovations are efficaciously combinations of more than one alone new component, and so up to five independent claims are allowed ( a little extra fee applies for each independent claim above three ) . Besides, sometimes it will do defensive sense for two different independent claims to turn to the same innovation utilizing different attacks, or to to boot claim the method by which the innovation solves a given job. Claims protect the innovation harmonizing to an `` all elements regulation '' . Your patent merely restricts others from doing merchandises that contain every component of at least one of your claims. If your patent claims an innovation consisting one or more wheels, one or more motors, one or more porc chops, and a ukulele, anyone on the planet can do and sell something with wheels, motors, and porc chops, and there is nil you can make about it. Every component you add to a claim restricts or narrows its protection. Claims are constructed as a multi-layer defence gainst those who might seek to challenge or discredit them. A patent hence will include, in add-on to its independent claims, a series of “dependent” claims, which reference the independent claims ( or other dependent claims ) to:

Dependent claims can non belie or randomly modify a parent claim, but can merely add extra elements or farther restraints to its elements. Clearly so, dependent claims are ever more narrow than their parent claims. The Essential Inventor 's Guide contains an extended treatment of claims construction, do's-and-don'ts, and scheme, sufficient to transfuse you with the know-how to bring forth right, comprehensive, and defensible claims. However, because errors are dearly-won, it is extremely advisable that you have your claims reviewed by a qualified attourney before registering your application. By using the lessons you 'll larn in The Essential Inventor 's Guide, the cost of holding your application professionally reviewed will be less than 1/10th of the cost of holding an attourney bill of exchange the application from abrasion ( the larger the application, the more the nest eggs ) , and you should happen the finished papers to be well close to your original bill of exchange. Indeed, you will happen it critical to understand the rudimentss of how to compose claims even when working with a professional, as it is up to you to look into the attourney 's work. A competent attourney will outline correct and prosecutable claims ; but, due to a deficiency of full comprehension of the innovation, all excessively frequently will unwittingly go forth something out that is merely realized by the discoverer subsequently. Everyone needs to hold person look into their work, and you ca n't execute that function unless you at least cognize adequate about claims writing to inquire the right inquiries.

Patent Claim Drafting 101: The Basicss

You have likely seen the commercial where the cat is sitting at his kitchen tabular array and is on the phone with the sawbones who is stating him where to cut to take out his appendix while utilizing a butter knife. The cat asks: “shouldn’t you be making this? ” Well, writing your ain patent application is a small like taking out your ain appendix. You won’t decease if you screw a patent application, which is virtually inevitable, but you will non likely be pleased with the result. If you do accomplish rights they will be far more narrow than necessary and you will hold created an unnavigable prosecution history that will about surely make the claims you do hold instead useless.

Having said this, it is non at all uncommon for discoverers to desire to try to outline and register patent applications on their ain. The cost of engaging an lawyer to outline a patent application can monetary value some discoverers out of the market, so they are left with the pick of making nil to prosecute their innovation and dreams or seeking to make something on their ain. Inventors who are traveling to try to outline their ain patent applications need to travel into the procedure with their eyes broad unfastened, recognize that the ensuing patent application will be better if a patent lawyer is involved in the drafting, and most significantly understand that there are a good figure of things that you can and probably will make that will take to a ensuing right that is compromised or wholly worthless.

So those who are unable to pay a patent lawyer to bill of exchange and file a patent application must be willing to educate themselves to the greatest extent possible in order to hold any opportunity at a modestly successful result. Toward that terminal, I have created a system that helps you create a probationary patent application, which is called The Invent & Patent System™ . Provisional patent applications, nevertheless, do non necessitate claims and can and should concentrate on supplying the broadest revelation possible. Therefore, while non preferred, a painstaking discoverer who uses The Invent & Patent System™ can make a reasonably good revelation. What would be best, nevertheless, is to utilize this as a bill of exchange and so acquire professional aid.

First, include a claim that defines your innovation in wide footings, go forthing out any and all unneeded options. Second, include another claim that defines your innovation with every bit much specificity and with every option you can believe of. It does non count that the claims won’t be in perfect format, with appropriate being defined as the format the Patent Office will finally necessitate. At the initial filing phase what matters most is that claims are present and they have appropriate range, with some being wide and some being narrow and quite specific. By get downing to compose these two claims you will “bookend” your innovation. By this I mean you have disclosed the really wide and generic version of your innovation, every bit good as the extremely specified version.

Now lets introduce the construct of “antecedent basis.” Notice that the elements are introduced with either “a” or “an” , as is grammatically appropriate. Then when you later refer to the component introduced you refer to is by either “said” or “the, ” hence presenting “a shovel head” and so subsequently mentioning to “said shovel head.” Notice besides that the shovel caput could be attached to the elongated grip in a broad assortment of ways, none of which would truly make a shovel. To manage this description trouble we introduce internal mention points that make it easier to depict how to link the elements. So seek this claim:

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and laminitis of IPWatchdog.com. Gene is besides a chief lector in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and an lawyer with Widerman Malek. Gene’s forte is in the country of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with lawyers confronting curious procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent jurisprudence alterations and pending judicial proceeding affairs, and works with start-up concerns throughout the United States and around the universe, chiefly covering with package and computing machine related inventions. Gene is admitted to pattern jurisprudence in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is besides admitted to pattern before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to direct Gene a message.

It’s an unfortunate state of affairs I know but I’ve been seeking irrespective. Are at that place any options that I am non cognizant of? To my cognition, if I do non change over my probationary to a public-service corporation or register a new public-service corporation app by Jan. 23, 2014 so I could lose all of my patent rights. Well, my probationary application is every bit elaborate as I could do it ( 17pgs including drawings ) , so I figure worst instance is I will try to outline my ain claims. Presently, the mfg who has expressed involvement has me on clasp until Spring. They don’t have the capacity to open up any undertakings right now until after boat-show season. Trying to maintain the ball turn overing so I don’t wholly lose out… Any advice will help. Thank you & sort respects! – Elliott Dollar

I am an lawyer from Greece, deling with concern jurisprudence. In the context of my pattern I had to do an application for patent. I would non state I am specialized in that sector, cause in Greece there are non lawyers covering entirely with patents, nevertheless I managed to allow my cliend a patent with a good scrutiny study. It was really difficult for me to explicate the technology inside informations that had to be icluded in the claims. For this intent, I had a really good cooperation with an applied scientist and through squad work we had a good consequence. I think that the combination of the two fortes is necessary. I assume from what I read that remunaration of IP lawyers is much higher in relation to Greece, but if you believe in your innovation it is deserving it to engage both lawyers and applied scientists to increase the possibility of a better consequence. Thnx, Kostas Kalantzis


In most legal powers, a patent is a right to except others from doing, utilizing, importing, selling or offering for sale the capable affair defined by the claims when the claim is for a thing ( setup, composing of affair, system, etc. ) . If a claim is for a method, the right to except would be to except any individual party from transporting out all the stairss of the claim. In order to except person from utilizing a patented innovation, the patent proprietor, or patentee, needs to show in a tribunal proceeding that what the other individual is utilizing falls within the range of a claim of the patent ; hence, it is more valuable to obtain claims that include the minimum set of restrictions that differentiate an innovation over what came earlier ( i.e. , the alleged anterior art ) . But the fewer the restrictions in a claim, the more likely it is that the claim will cover, or `` read on, '' what came earlier and be rejected during scrutiny or found to be invalid at a ulterior clip for deficiency of freshness or noticeability.


No patent system today is a strictly either cardinal or peripheral, but the system used in Germany and most of the other states of Continental Europe is considered more cardinal than the system presently used in the United Kingdom, the United States, and particularly Japan, which are more peripheral. In recent old ages, Japan 's system has become more peripheral, while the system used in the United States was going more cardinal because of the increasing resort in US patent judicial proceeding to the philosophy of equivalents to spread out claim range erratically, until the US Supreme Court reversed that tendency in the Warner-Jenkinson instance in 1997.

European Patent Convention

Sing the construction of a claim, under the European Patent Convention, what is called the `` preamble '' is different from the intending the `` preamble '' has under U.S. patent jurisprudence. In an independent claim in Europe, the preamble is everything which precedes the look `` characterized in that '' or `` characterized by '' in a claim written harmonizing to the alleged `` bipartite signifier '' , and hence everything which is regarded as known in combination within one anterior art papers, viz. the closest anterior art papers. For this ground, in Europe, the preamble of a claim is sometimes besides called `` pre-characterizing part '' .

Interpretation or claim building

Furthermore, in U.S. patent pattern at least, discoverers may `` move as their ain lexicologist '' in a patent application. That means that an discoverer may give a common word or give voice a significance that is really specific and different from the normal definition of said word or phrase. Thus a claim must be interpreted in visible radiation of the definitions provided in the specification of a patent. The specification of a patent is a written description of how to do and utilize the innovation ( see besides: sufficiency of revelation ) . In U.S. jurisprudence, a claim is interpreted in a Markman hearing. The Public Patent Foundation has constructed Free Claim Construction Dictionaries.

Basic types and classs

The looks `` in one incarnation '' , `` in a preferable incarnation '' , `` in a peculiar incarnation '' , `` in an advantageous incarnation '' or the similar frequently appear in the description of patent applications and are used to present a peculiar execution or method of transporting out the innovation. These assorted incarnations may or may non each be claimed with specificity. They might function as multiple illustrations of a more general `` genus '' that is claimed. In some instances the tester might declare that what the applier presented as fluctuations of one innovation are really separate innovations that need to be examined separately.

An independent ( `` stand entirely '' ) claim does non mention to an earlier claim, whereas a dependent claim does mention to an earlier claim, assumes all of the restrictions of that claim and so adds limitations ( e.g. `` The grip of claim 2 where it is hinged. '' ) Each dependent claim is, by jurisprudence, more narrow than the independent claim upon which it depends. Although this consequences in coverage more narrow than provided by the independent claim upon which the 2nd claim depends, it is extra coverage, and there are many advantages to the patent applier in subjecting and obtaining a full suite of dependent claims:

The regulations of claim outlining besides permit `` multiple dependant claims '' that reference more than one other claim, e.g. : `` 3. Method of claim 1 or 2, farther consisting. '' The regulations for this are quite specific: specific claims must be referenced ( `` the method of any of these other claims '' is wrong ) ; the claims must be referenced in the option ( `` the method of claims 1 and 2 '' is wrong ) ; etc. While still acceptable, this claim manner is rarely used in the U.S. because it is counted for registering fee intents harmonizing to the figure of claims that it references. Therefore, if the claim depends from three former claims, it is counted for fee intents as three dependant claims. In visible radiation of the `` extra claim '' fees presently imposed by the USPTO, this tactic can rapidly go expensive. Multiple dependent claims are, nevertheless, really normally used in other legal powers, including Canada and Europe.

Pitfalls and Traps in Claim Drafting or, `` So you want to compose your ain patent? ''

In other words, writing patent claims is truly a occupation for a professional patent lawyer or agent. We strongly urge you non to compose concluding claims, but instead to fix the best lineation of your innovation you can, and allow a professional write the existent claims. If you must compose claims, so at least have a professional ( sooner one at Brown & Michaels ) review them before you file. The money you spend so will salvage you 1000s later on, and might salvage you from holding a patent declared invalid subsequently on ( or detecting that what you thought was a really wide patent was, in fact, really narrow ) .

Try non to utilize specific Numberss in claims, if at all possible, or claim a scope or minimum/maximum alternatively of a figure. For illustration, if all you need is a saline solution, say so, non `` 2 % saline '' . If your preferable embodiment uses 10 % Na, but the innovation will work with 2 % -20 % , use the scope in the wide claim and the specific figure in a dependent claim ( but be certain there is give voicing in the specification to endorse up any Numberss or scopes you use ) . If a given chemical is present in concentrations of `` 0-10 % '' , this truly means you do n't necessitate it at all ( because a concentration of 0 % means `` none '' ) , so travel it to a dependent claim.

Unless your innovation must ever be built and used in a specific orientation, avoid absolute places - `` above '' , `` below '' , `` right '' , `` left '' . One recent instance turned on whether it truly mattered if a claim component which was claimed as `` below '' another component truly had to be below, or if it could be above it. Gratuitous to state, it 's difficult to reason that `` below '' means `` above '' , and the patentee lost. Generally, stating one component is `` next '' to another will work in most instances. In fact, do n't name place at all if you do n't hold to - merely state how the elements relate, non how they 're located.

It is alluring to take your innovation as it soon exists, and depict every component in utmost item - as a proud discoverer, you spent tonss of clip smoothing your innovation, and doing certain it was merely every bit good as it could be. It took you months or old ages of test and mistake to calculate out that the portoflan armature works best if it 's made of polypropylene alternatively of Bakelite ( or the even more generic `` plastic '' ) , or that the cheapest fastener is a figure four Fahnstock cartridge holder, or that two armatures are better than one or three, so you truly want to state these things in the broadest claim. That innovation is your babe, and it merely could n't be improved upon. Any fluctuation would merely non be deserving sing. BUT. When you 're writing your claims you have to see beyond the perfected paradigm you have sitting in your garage, to do certain that the patent you will finally acquire will non be easy evaded.

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Patent agents and lawyers will help you acquire the description right ab initio. They can inquire you to compose a description of your innovation and will transform it to do it a great patent application. For illustration, they know about elusive elements that must be present the description, particularly in the hard field of package patents. They know this because they are cognizant of entreaties determinations and they acquired experience from past instances with other clients. You could read about entreaties and other determinations, learn from web logs ( and go through the test to go an agent yourself ) , yet there are things you will merely larn from experience of prosecution. Besides, if you plan to seek patents internationally, you will necessitate help from agents or lawyers who are cognizant of use abroad.

There are discoverers who do a sensible occupation of outlining a probationary application that has some value. If they understand the bounds of the value they are acquiring and make non acquire a false sense of security from it, they will likely be better off than if they had done nil. Although I do non urge writing your ain patent application, I do extremely urge reading Patent it Yourself by David Pressman. It is updated every twelvemonth and he has a web site covering misprints and alterations in the jurisprudence. If you study the book, do non jump the complex parts or the deadening parts and experience confident you could compose a regular patent application so you might be able to compose a probationary application without hiting yourself in the pes.

Patent Claims Research Dataset

The Patent Claims Research Dataset contain elaborate information on claims from U.S. patents granted between 1976 and 2014 and U.S. patent applications published between 2001 and 2014. The dataset is derived from the Patent Application Publication Full-Text and Patent Grant Full Text files, available at hypertext transfer protocol: //bulkdata.uspto.gov/ , to which the Office of Chief Economist ( OCE ) applied a Python algorithm to place single claims every bit good as the dependence relationship between claims. From the parsed claims text, OCE created six informations files incorporating individually-parsed claims, claim-level statistics, and document-level statistics, including newly-developed steps of patent range.

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