Applying for a Patent

Applying for a Patent

In order to obtain a patent, it is necessary to prepare and file a patent application with the Patent Office in the country or countries in which protection is sought. A patent application contains a patent specification comprising a background of the relevant art to the invention, a summary of the invention, a detailed description of the invention including preferred embodiments of the invention and often drawings, and claims. The patent specification must describe the invention in sufficient detail to be understood by a person with ordinary skill in the field of technology to which the invention relates.

The claims in a patent are critical because they define the scope of the patent rights. Anything disclosed in the specification but not claimed is not protected by the patent. The claims must define the essential characteristics of the invention. At the same time, the claims must not cover anything that has previously been publicly known. A claim in a patent may be invalid if it fails to adequately distinguish the invention from prior inventions or disclosures. Invalid claims are unenforceable. On the other hand, claims that are too narrow in scope may permit the patent to be easily circumvented by others.