The Parts of a Patent Application

by Michael Goltry, Registered Patent Attorney (480-991-3537;

A patent application is a request for the grant of a patent for an invention called for in one or more claims. A patent application consists of two parts, namely, a written specification and drawings. The specification is a written description of the invention. It is required to be in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which the invention or discovery appertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same. This requirement ensures that the public receives something in return for the exclusionary rights the patent grants to the inventor. The specification must present the precise invention for which a patent is solicited and distinguish it from other inventions and from what is old. A written specification should include an Abstract of the Disclosure, a Background of the Invention, a Summary of the Invention, a Description or Summary of the Drawings, a Detailed Description of the Invention, and Claims. 

The Abstract is a concise statement of the patent’s technical disclosure and what is new in the art to which the invention pertains. The Abstract should contain no reference to purported merits, speculative assertions, or comparisons to that which is known.

The Background of the Invention generally includes two parts, namely, a Field of the Invention and a Description of Related Art. The Field of the Invention is a statement of the field of art to which the invention pertains and the subject matter of the claimed invention. The Description of Related Art describes the state of the art, what is known to the applicant, and disadvantages in the prior art solved by the applicant’s invention. Prior patents or publications should not be cited or discussed in the Background.

The Summary of the Invention presents the nature and substance of the invention, and may include one or more objects of the invention. It should be commensurate with the invention and clearly and precisely convey that to which the invention relates and the nature of the claimed invention. A properly written Summary should mirror the Claims and be more than conclusory statements.

A patent application normally contains drawings configured to illustrate the invention. The Description of the Drawings should contain a brief and precise description of the several views of the drawings to which the Detailed Description refers by specifying the numbers of the figures and to the different parts by reference numerals.

The Detailed Description of the Invention, the specification, explains what the invention is and how it works with reference to drawings utilizing reference characters to indicate corresponding elements throughout the several views. The specification must be precise and in such particularity to enable any person skilled in the pertinent art or science to make and use the invention without involving extensive experimentation and must clearly convey enough information about the invention to show that applicant invented the claimed subject matter. Every feature called for in the claims must be shown in the drawings described in the specification.

The specification shall conclude with one or more Claims. The Claims are written paragraphs that specify with particularity the subject matter which applicant regards as the invention. The claims define the invention in such detail to enable the patent examiner and prospective infringers and judges who construe the claims to understand the claimed subject matter is; that is, what is forbidden territory and what is open, insofar as the particular patent is concerned.

An applicant for a patent must furnish one or more Drawings where necessary for facilitating an understanding of the patented subject matter. Black and white drawings are normally required, although color drawings are permitted in design applications. The drawing must contain as many views as necessary to show the invention and may include illustrations to facilitate an understanding of the invention, such as flow sheets in cases of processes and diagrammatic views. The views may be plan, elevation, section, or perspective views. Detail views of portions of elements, on a larger scale if necessary, are often used. All illustrations should be grouped together and arranged on the sheet(s) without wasting space, preferably in an upright position, clearly separated from one another, and must not be included in the sheets containing the specifications, claims, or abstract. Identifying indicia can be provided, although it is not required. When provided, identifying indicia should include the title of the invention, inventor’s name, application number (if available), or docket number (if any). The identifying indicia must be placed on the front of each sheet within the top margin.

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"Mr. Goltry took a provisional patent that we'd filed ourselves, and quickly and professionally turned our innovation into U.S. and foreign applications. His [patent claims] were a thing of beauty, and I was amazed by how deftly he countered the inevitable office actions. His language held up, and the U.S. Patent just issued. He was easy and efficient to work with, and his fees were remarkably reasonable. We're not planning to go anywhere else, ever."

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"I applied for a patent through Parsons & Goltry. After being on the docket for 2 years at the USPTO, I received notification that my patent request had been denied. Michael Goltry contacted me immediately to review my options. After I informed him of my decision to move forward, he filed a response to the USPTO. In his response he got the examiner to fully understand the claims in the patent application and the "denied" decision was reversed. I was able to secure and receive a "patent granted" decision. Thank you, Michael Goltry."

- Kathy H., Inventor


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