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Patent Applications - How To File For A Utility Patent

Writing the Specification And Claims For A Utility Patent



The claims form the legal basis for protection. You can (and probably should) have several claims for each patent. The aim here is to ensure that you make all the claims necessary to protect your invention. While some of your claims will cover individual features of your invention, others will cover broader elements.

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

A nonprovisional application for a utility patent must contain at least one claim. The claim or claims section must begin on a separate sheet. If there are several claims, they shall be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals, with the least restrictive claim presented as claim number 1.

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 meaning of every term used in any of the claims should be apparent from the descriptive portion of the specification with clear disclosure as to its import; and in mechanical cases, it should be identified in the descriptive portion of the specification by reference to the drawing, designating the part or parts therein to which the term applies. A term used in the claims may be given a special meaning in the description.

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


The abstract is a short technical summary of your invention that includes a statement of the use of the invention. It is primarily used for searching purposes.

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

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