A patent application is difficult to write. The patent application needs to clearly explain how to make and use your invention. The examiner at the patent office, experts, investors, judges, and juries will eventually read the patent application and it should be organized and understandable to all.
Note: This guide can help you write your own patent application. If this information is all you need to protect your invention, I would love to hear about your success, though I cannot offer any further guidance. If you would like my professional help as an experienced patent attorney, please reach out so that we can discuss your case.
Disclaimer: This guide is not a substitute for legal counsel. By using this information, you assume all responsibility.
Download link: Patent application template
Patent Application Sections
A patent application has 9 different sections. Let’s discuss how to write each section. For a deeper dive into writing a patent application, read my resource: How to write a great patent application?
- Cross-reference to related applications
- Statement regarding federally sponsored research or development
- Background of the invention
- Brief summary of the invention
- Brief description of the several views of the drawing
- Detailed description of the invention
- A claim or claims
- Abstract of the disclosure
The title should be brief but technically accurate and descriptive and should contain fewer than 500 characters. Don’t try to explain what the invention is. Just state the field of the invention. For example, for our camera tripod invention we are using in this guide, just title it TRIPOD.
Read my tutorial: How to write the Abstract?
Cross-reference to related applications
If your application is claiming priority to a prior-filed patent application, you need to submit an Application Data Sheet with your patent application to properly claim priority to the parent patent application. Otherwise, the claim of priority is defection and may invalidate your patent.
In this section, you should mention those related applications and state the entire contents of the prior-filed application are incorporated in this application by reference.
Statement regarding federally sponsored research or development
If a government entity owns a part of the invention or contributed to the invention, a statement as to their rights should be included in this section.
Background of the invention
The background section is the simplest and the most problematic section of the patent application. It should be written simply as I explain below but laypeople tend to include too much information that hurts the value of their patent.
Read my tutorial: How to write the background of the patent application?
The background section should have at least two paragraphs. The first paragraph is about the field of invention. This paragraph can be one sentence long and state that “The field of the invention is related to [insert title].” That’s it. Keep it simple.
The second paragraph is a description of the related prior art. In my opinion, the background should merely state that problems exist in the field of invention. Don’t include a description of the prior art because that could invalidate your patent. If you mischaracterize the prior art albeit inadvertently, the infringer will argue that you did it intentionally.
Brief summary of the invention
The summary section is used to fulfill a requirement in patent law that each of the words in the claims be repeated in the specification. As such, cut and paste the claims that you draft below into the brief summary and transform them into smaller sentences. Save the detailed explanation of the invention for the Detailed Description section below.
Read my tutorial: How to write a brief summary of the patent application?
Brief description of the several views of the drawing
The brief description of the drawings should state the figure number, the type of view, and a short description of what the figure shows. Here’s an example description of our camera tripod invention.
Figure 1 is a perspective view of a tripod;
Figure 2 is an exploded perspective view of a head of the tripod;
Detailed description of the invention
The basic requirement of the detailed description is that this section plus the drawings should enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use your invention. You need to explain how to make (i.e., build) your invention. For example, the detailed description is similar to the instructions on how to assemble a toy but more detailed. The engineering principles should be explained to the reader so that they can use what you are seeking for a patent.
You also need to explain how to use the invention.
The detailed description and the drawings that you submit with your patent application are the most difficult part of the patent application to write. It needs to include the point of novelty and all of the options, variations, different embodiments, the minimally viable product and so much more.
You can review my course on how to write a GREAT patent application. For now, it’s free but it might change in the future.
A claim or claims
The claims are the most important part of the patent application. The claims define the scope of patent protection. The claims are rejected or allowed.
You can read my tutorial: How to draft a basic claim? The tutorial will help you to craft a basic claim and it has additional resources to help you advance your claim drafting skills.
Abstract of the disclosure
The abstract should be no longer than 150 words. It should inform the reader what they can expect to learn when they read the specification. It does not need to include the point of novelty of the invention.
Read my tutorial: How to write the Abstract?