Claims are essential to a patent as they prescribe the limits of what you are attempting to protect. They constitute the legal framework for your patent, which clearly defines the boundaries upon which competitors may infringe. Patents might only have a single claim, whilst others may have well over a hundred.
It is therefore of paramount importance how you structure and phrase your claims. The significance of patent claims in your patent application is evidenced in the specialised skill sets acquired by patent attorneys, who generally require both technical expertise in the form of an engineering or science degree, and legal expertise in the form of, for example, a Masters degree in Industrial Property. In order to properly draft your patent, you should seek a patent attorney.
Two types of claims are constituent to a patent — independent claims and dependent claims. Independent patent claims can be read solely to be understood as the scope of the invention, whilst dependent patent claims must be interpreted in conjunction with the claims from which they depend.
Patent claims can be broad or narrow in scope. Narrow patent claims generally carry with them more details than broader patent claims, thereby defining the parameters of the claims more restrictively.
The patent claims should be fully fleshed out to the extent that they address both the inventive aspect and sufficient surrounding elements to provide the appropriate context for the invention. However, each claim must only be a single sentence.
The patent claims must be fully supported in the remainder of the patent application. All the characteristics of your invention which give rise to the patent claims must therefore be fully and thoroughly explained in the description. Furthermore, any terms you use in the patent claims must be reflected accurately in the description.
The patent claims must be unambiguous so that an examiner does not have to speculate about the claim.
Important Disclaimer: The information on this website is not legal or professional advice. The information may:
- not be correct;
- only relate to the law or practice in a given country; and/or
- be outdated.
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