Patent Applications - How To File For A Utility Patent

Writing the Specification For A Utility Patent

Patent specifications are not written at a layperson's level of understanding, they are written at an expert's level of understanding. In addition, they are ways to write things based on legal interpretation that can give you the best patent protection.

Writing the specification for a utility patent requires both technical and legal skill.

Formatting and Numbering The Pages

  • All the pages of the specification including claims and abstract, have to be numbered consecutively, starting with 1. This does not apply to the transmittal letter sheets or other forms.
  • The page numbers should be centrally located preferably below the text.
  • The text lines of the specification must be 1.5 or double spaced (lines of other text not comprising the specification need not be 1.5 or double spaced).
  • Include an indentation at the beginning of each new paragraph, and number the paragraphs starting at (0001 etc.).

Section Headings

  • TITLE OF INVENTION
  • CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
  • REFERENCE TO A SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM, LISTING COMPACT DISC APPENDIX
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • CLAIM OR CLAIMS
  • ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE
  • DRAWINGS (When Necessary)
  • OATH OR DECLARATION
  • SEQUENCE LISTING (When Necessary)

Next > Detailed Instructions For Each Section Heading

Do you want to know what the Patent office does after you file your patent application, or what you might have to do after they receive it? See "Examination of Patent Applications".

TITLE OF INVENTION

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

REFERENCE TO A SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM, LISTING COMPACT DISC APPENDIX

If a computer program listing is to be submitted and is over 300 lines long (each line of up to 72 characters), the computer program listing must be submitted on a compact disc compliant with rule 1.96, and the specification must contain a reference to the computer program listing appendix. A computer program listing of 300 or less lines may similarly be submitted on compact disc. The computer program listing on compact disc will not be printed with any patent or patent application publication.

If a gene sequence listing is to be submitted, the sequence may be submitted on a compact disc in compliance with laws 1.821, 1.822, 1.823, 1.824, and 1.825, instead of submission on paper, and the specification must contain a reference to the gene sequence listing on compact disc.

If a table of data is to be submitted, and such table would occupy more than 50 pages if submitted on paper, the table can be submitted on a compact disc compliant with rule 1.58, and the specification must contain a reference to the table on compact disc. The data in the table must properly align visually with the associated rows and columns.

Next > Background of Invention, Summary, Drawing Views, Detailed Description

The description, together with the claims forms the bulk of your patent application. It is here that you give a full account of your invention. The description begins with background information relevant to the invention and describes the invention in increasing levels of detail. One of your goals in writing the description is to compose it so that someone skilled in your field would be able to reproduce it just from reading your description and looking at the drawings.

Reference Material

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This section should also contain a description of information known to you, including references to specific documents, which are related to your invention. It should contain, if applicable, references to specific problems involved in the prior art (or state of technology) which your invention is drawn toward. In the past, this section may have been titled "DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART" or "DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART."

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

It is required that the description be sufficient so that any person of ordinary skill in the pertinent art, science, or area could make and use the invention without extensive experimentation. The best mode contemplated by you of carrying out your invention must be set forth in the description. Each element in the drawings should be mentioned in the description. This section has often, in the past, been titled "DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT."

Next > Claims, Abstract

CLAIMS

The claim or claims must particularly point out and distinctly claim the subject matter which you regard as the invention. The claims define the scope of the protection of the patent. Whether a patent will be granted is determined, in large measure, by the choice of wording of the claims.

One Claim Is Required For Filing

The claims section must begin with the statement, "What I claim as my invention is..." or "I (We) claim..." followed by the statement of what you regard as your invention.

One or more claims may be presented in dependent form, referring back to and further limiting another claim or claims in the same application.

All dependent claims should be grouped together with the claim or claims to which they refer to the extent practicable. Any dependent claim that refers to more than one other claim ("a multiple dependent claim") shall refer to such other claims in the alternative only.

Each claim should be a single sentence, and where a claim sets forth a number of elements or steps, each element or step of the claim should be separated by a line indentation.

In Claims Every Word Is Important

The fee required to be submitted with a nonprovisional utility patent application is, in part, determined by the number of claims, independent claims, and dependent claims.

Reference Material

ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE

The purpose of the abstract is to enable the USPTO and the public to determine quickly the nature of the technical disclosures of your invention. The abstract points out what is new in the art to which your invention pertains. It should be in narrative form and generally limited to a single paragraph, and it must begin on a separate page. An abstract should not be longer than 150 words.

Reference Material

Next > Drawings, Oath, Sequence Listing, Mailing Receipt

DRAWINGS (when necessary)

A patent application is required to contain drawings if drawings are necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented. The drawings must show every feature of the invention as specified in the claims. Omission of drawings may cause an application to be considered incomplete.

If you need to create patent drawings use our Guide to Patent Drawings.

OATH OR DECLARATION, SIGNATURE

Providing a correspondence address will help to ensure prompt delivery of all notices, official letters, and other communications. In addition, a shortened declaration can be used when you also file an Application Data Sheet.

The oath or declaration must be signed by all of the actual inventors. An oath may be administered by any person within the United States, or by a diplomatic or consular officer of a foreign country, who is authorized by the United States to administer oaths. A declaration does not require any witness or person to administer or verify its signing. Thus, use of a declaration is preferable.

A full first and last name with middle initial or name, if any, of each inventor are required. The mailing address and citizenship of each inventor are also required if an application data sheet is not used.

SEQUENCE LISTING (when necessary)

You must prepare this section, for the disclosure of a nucleotide and/or amino acid sequence, with a listing of the sequence that complies with the following patent rules: 1.821, 1.822, 1.823, 1.824, and 1.825, and may be in paper or electronic form.

Obtaining A Receipt For Mailed Patent Application Documents

Next > Creating Patent Drawings For A Utility Patent