What is a Patent Application?

by Michael Goltry, Registered Patent Attorney (480-991-3537; mg@pgpct.com)

What is a patent application? It’s just a request for a grant of a patent described in a specification and claimed by a set of one or more claims that define, in technical terms, the scope of sought protection. The more patent applications I write, the less I like this conventional definition.

I believe a patent application is a story. It’s a story that must be written carefully and thoughtfully, with a calm and open mind. It’s a story that should not be forced or rushed. It’s a story about a solution to a problem.

There must be a problem; there can be no solution without one. A problem can be grain loss in an agricultural combine, structural complexity, fuel efficiency, aerodynamic drag, power loss, thermal expansion, fluid leakage, heat loss, etc. There may be many problems to be solved. That’s okay, too. 

Problem identification sets the mind to a state of readiness and clarity for the solution. Understanding a problem requires an explanation of the state of the art, e.g., the current state of agricultural seeder implements, airport lighting installations, targets used for target practice, etc., and at least one problem or deficiency; this is the backdrop for the inventor, who has swooped in with the solution.

The solution is the invention and is described in the specification, often in conjunction with drawings. The specification is a detailed description with lots of technical terms. How can a specification be a story? By focusing on helping an ordinary reader to understand the invention from a broad perspective and how it accomplishes stated objectives or otherwise solves one or more stated problems and then explaining the invention specifics to the extent that may enable the reader to visualize the invention. Writing under this framework can produce a story-like description, rather than a technical manual or ingredient list description.

A patent application is challenging to write, even for experienced patent professionals. A storyline approach can provide focus and purpose in a patent application to help the writing process and, ultimately, the inventor. If you need help with a patent application, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Client Approved


"Our company has worked with a number of patent attorneys and were so pleased when we began working with Parsons & Goltry nearly a decade ago. Mike Goltry's knowledge and attention to detail has enabled us to have numerous products patented and trademarks registered. We highly recommend this Law Firm."

- Sharon K.


"Michael Goltry is the most professional, honest and effective patent attorney whom I ever met in my 40 year professional engineering career. I started to work with him over 20 years ago and plan to work indefinitely."

- Zoltan Kemeny, PhD, Struct. Eng.


"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."

- Ski Milburn, CEO, Victori, LLC


"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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