What is a Patent Specification?
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. The patent provides exclusive rights to a patentee to exploit the claimed invention as he may deem fit.
Table of Contents
What is a Patent Specification?
In order to obtain a patent or get a patent grant, the applicant/ inventor must disclose required technical information about the invention in the form of a patent application with complete specifications. Thus, the applicant obtains the grant if full disclosure of the invention is submitted at the patent office including the best possible method(s) of performing the claimed invention. Such an application can be filed at the respective patent office of a jurisdiction in which protection is sought.
A patent application can be either i) a provisional application or ii) a non-provisional application. A patent specification generally consists of the following major elements- title, abstract, at least one or more claims, description, and drawings.
Anatomy of a Patent
As per Section 10 of the Patents Act 1970 (Indian Patents), the contents of a patent specification must include-
- Every complete specification shall—
(a) fully and particularly describe the invention and its operation or use and the method by which it is to be performed;
(b) disclose the best method of performing the invention which is known to the applicant and for which he is entitled to claim protection; and
(c) end with a claim or claims defining the scope of the invention for which protection is claimed;
(d) be accompanied by an abstract to provide technical information on the invention:
An abstract is a brief summary of the subject matter of the invention which describes the technical field of the invention. The abstract essentially discloses the problem solved by the invention. The abstract is generally a concise summary only containing no more than one hundred and fifty words.
Patent specification is accompanied by a number of well-labeled figures or drawings visually representing different possible aspects of the claimed invention. A specification may comprise one or more drawings or may even have no drawings at all. Each element in these drawings is assigned a numeral label. Further, the drawings can either be a cross-section of a product, a process flowchart, a design, or any other figure disclosing features of the claimed invention as mentioned in the subject-matter. Drawings must be submitted in a format prescribed by the patent office.
A background section describes the problems being faced by the use of existing inventions. This section points out the drawbacks associated with related art in the domain. Any previously known patent or non-patent literature which requires a significant improvement to solve a problem is discussed in detail by the applicant under this section. Moreover, the improvements required are also mentioned. This section focuses mainly on distinguishing the prior art from the current invention.
The summary section of the patent specification briefly describes solutions to the problems and advantages over the prior art as discussed in the background section. The summary generally discloses a broad interpretation of the independent claims of the invention as well as its advantages over the prior art.
- Brief Description of Drawings (optional)
A brief overview of the figures, drawings, and flowcharts of the invention is provided in this section.
- Detailed Description
This section provides a detailed description of the claimed invention. It discloses different embodiments to enable the claim and also discloses the best possible methods of carrying out the invention. Each figure is explained under the description in greater detail. Different possible methods, processes, and structural details of components are explained with a greater level of detail. Further, details of the invention as mentioned here must be sufficient for a POSITA to perform the invention by developing the necessary technical know-how on his own. It may comprise different examples as well for a better understanding of the invention.
Title 35 U.S.C. § 112 (As per US Patent Laws)
The specification shall include a written description of the invention, as well as the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most closely related, to make and use the same, as well as the best mode contemplated by the inventor or joint inventor of carrying out the invention.
The claims of a patent specification are the most important part of any patent application. It is the claims that define the scope of protection granted by the patent to an applicant. The claim describes the invention in legal terminology, setting out the essential features of the invention and describing what the patent does or does not cover.
A patent can claim one or more independent claims. Each of the independent claims can be supported by a set of dependent claims if required. Each and every element of a claim should have proper enablement and support in the description.
The independent claim sets out the broadest protection for the invention whereas the dependent claims are narrower and define more specific features of the invention. The claims that are initially filed by an applicant may be amended later on during the prosecution stage as advised by the examiner.
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