Different Parts of a Patent Document

Minneapolis patent attorney Suneel Arora of Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner discusses what comprises a patent document.

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There are several different parts of a patent document so a patent document will have a title page that will list the title of the invention, the inventors, who is the assignee, the owner of the patent. It will list the prior art references that were actually considered during the examination or submitted to the patent examiner during the examination process. Then there will be an abstract on the title page to give a brief description of what the inventions about. There’s typically some drawings that come into place after that and they’re actually pretty useful. It’s usually the first thing I look at when I look at a patent document is to skim the drawings just because it’s easier than reading through what comes next ’cause what comes next is fairly lengthy. It would involve a background.

The background would describe not the invention but it describes the state of the prior art. When we write patent applications we have to be very careful to limit what’s said in the background because everything that appears in the background portion of a patent application can be taken as admitted prior art by the patent examiner. So we have to be careful and not talk about the invention in the background but the invention gets discussed in great detail in what’s called the detailed description of the invention, which comes later on in the patent document.

And then at the very end of the patent document is probably the most important part of the patent document and that’s the claims. And the claims define in words what are the meets and bounds of what the patent applicant is trying to exclude other from practicing. So those are the different parts of the patent document.

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