One common problem associated with the language inventors use on their patent applications is describing only a single version of their invention. Obviously, a clear description and explanation of the invention being patented is necessary, but so too is adequately describing variations of your invention that could be created using different elements or processes to solve the same problem. Failing to do this introduces the possibility that others could create a similar invention and not be guilty of infringement. Here are some additional tips needed when describing your invention for a patent application.
Use common terms
In many instances, infusing your writing with some creative language is recommended. That’s not the case for a patent application, however. Remember that your description of your invention is what prevents others from creating similar inventions. By using unclear terms, you risk misinterpretations by the courts. Whenever possible, use terms that are familiar with those within your industry, and has a single, clear meaning. Use the same terminology whenever necessary, rather than using synonymous terms.
One requirement for any patent application is that the invention is “enabled”. That means that should the patent expire, others could make and use the invention themselves with the information provided in your patent application. In order to meet the enablement requirement, your patent application should provide a detailed, complete description of how to make and use your invention. Providing a general overview may be enough to get by, but a general rule of thumb is that the more detail you can provide, the better off you’ll be.
In order to supplement the written description of your invention, and prevent any misinterpretations, it’s a good idea to provide drawings and illustrations whenever possible. What you depict in the included drawings will be treated the same way as your written description, and in most cases, patent law requires you to include at least one drawing of your invention. It’s usually a good idea to include multiple drawings, however, in order to completely capture every feature and component of the invention. There are even examples of drawings being used to fill in the blanks when certain details are left out of the written disclosure. In order to do so, the drawings need to be detailed enough to clearly illustrate nuanced information.
Remember that you’re attempting to describe an invention that previously hasn’t existed. One way to ensure you’re providing an acceptable amount of details, that are also clearly defined, is to write as if you’re describing your invention for a blind individual.
For help with patent applications, and guidance and litigation in all intellectual property matters, contact us at Brown Patent Law: 918-615-3357.