Monday, January 7, 2008

How To Use Patent And Patent Application

A patent is an exclusive right granted by a government to a person for a fixed period in exchange for a public disclosure of enabling details of a device, method, process or composition of matter, or substance, known as an invention that is new, inventive and useful, and enabling an average person to build the invention. The exclusive right granted an inventor is the right to prevent others from building and making a commercial use of the claimed invention, but does not preclude other individuals from a personal use of the device. Most countries have rigid requirements as to what must comprise a patent and its application. The patent application must be eloquent enough, but must not yet disclose the essentials of the invention, which are to be disclosed in the forthcoming parts of the patent. Another critical part of a patent application is the discussion of the prior art. The inventor must show the required usefulness by emphasizing the shortcomings of devices available heretofore, or the lack of devices or methods, which would alleviate or fulfill the commercial or public need. The prior art section must not prematurely disclose the invention, which is disclosed in the later sections. The next section is the summary of the invention, which is a plain language version of claims, which are written in a very legalese, strict language. The next section, the description of embodiments, fulfills the enabling requirement of the application. The section must narrate the construction, structure, the method of use, and functioning of the device, its components, subsystems, and discuss any possible variations in the shape, materials, critical dimensions, and any other unique features of the invention. The narrative must follow the numbering of a black-and-white drawing accompanying a patent, where all discussed parts must be clearly numbered. The claims section must be composed of nested claim groups centered on independent claims. For example, if an invention is a flashlight attachable to a car, and is also a flashlight permanently attached to another object, the claims would contain two independent claims, each describing a mode of the flashlight mounting. Similarly, if an invention contains an optional part, which is also uniquely inventive, the claims for the device will have at least two independent claims. In other words, each critical inventive aspect of an invention can be protected by an independent claim. Thereafter, dependent claims, written following an independent claim. The language of claims is unique and terse. A claim begins with a legally non-binding preamble, and is followed with the actual body of outlined claims. Very often, the preamble will contain as many words as possible needed to set up, or describe the device, on order to spare a patent writer to introduce too many words in a legally sensitive claim outline. Skilled use of technical synonyms, and, most importantly, indefinite and definite articles, will claim the maximum possible inventive territory for the patent. Both the strictness of the claim language and the fear of self-limiting often make the claims devoid of the either-or modes of an invention. Finally, the last part of a patent application is an abstract, which is a non-legal reiteration of the first independent claim written in a plain language.