Drafting Tips

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Drafting Tips

Drafting patent applications can be a deceptively hard practice.  At its heart, the question a patent practitioner must ask themselves is, “what is the invention?”  Never mind the “embodiment,” or the prototype that the inventor discloses to you, but what is the all-encompassing invention that needs to be protected?  How do you draft the patent such that a potential infringer cannot design around the invention?

While this section will describe basic approaches as to how patents are drafted, those reading should keep their mind open and be prepared to learn new styles when they begin their professional practice.

At a high level, once the problem to solve has been identified and you have written your claims, the remainder of the application is typically easier to write.  This is because by this point, you have probably racked your brain trying to identify the underlying problem and drafting numerous claims while reviewing the transcript of the disclosure to identify potential dependent claims.

Application Example

NOTE: The following is a general template that can be used for drafting applications.


TITLE (e.g. Apparatus for mounting a frame)


[0001]                                   The present invention generally relates to [X], and has a certain specific application to [X].

[keep this section brief and general]


[0002]                                   [X]

[use vague, cursory terms; anything you say can and will be used against you as admitted prior art – i.e., do not mention novel aspects of your invention in the background!]

[give support or reason for unexpected results, solution to long-standing problem, etc.]


[0004]    A [system, method, apparatus, etc.] are provided for [X].

[This section is optional, and some companies may insist that you do not include it]


[0005]                                   Figure 1 illustrates [X], in accordance with one possible embodiment; and 

[0006]                                   Figure 2 illustrates [X], in accordance with one possible embodiment. 


[boilerplate: some patent attorneys prefer to have boilerplate upfront. I prefer to put the boilerplate language at the end of the broad embodiment]

[definition option 1: some patent attorneys prefer to have a “Definitions” section.  Make sure that you do not limit the scope of your claims/invention by the provided definitions. I usually prefer to go with “definition option 2.”]

[0007]                                   Figure 1 illustrates [X], in accordance with one possible embodiment. 

[generally, only a few figures should be included in the broad embodiment, e.g., hardware components figure, general flow chart, etc.]

[if software, describe each major software component. What is the flow of information? What data structures are used?]

[if physical components, identify resources, hardware – necessary for the patentability of software]

[if block diagram or flow chart, describe each element of the diagram or flow chart]

[if physical structure, identify each element of the structure]

[definition option 2: While describing the broad embodiment, I define the terms as appropriate.]

[0008]                                   In the context of the present description, [X] refers to [X]. 

[general boilerplate: The following description of the embodiment(s) is merely exemplary (illustrative) in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses.  Additionally, the invention may be practiced according to the claims without some or all of the illustrative information]

[end of broad embodiment section]

[start of additional embodiments]

[0009]                                   Figure 2 illustrates [X], in accordance with one possible embodiment. Optionally, [X] may be implemented in the context of any of the foregoing figures.

[this boilerplate can be used to describe any other embodiment and/or figure]

[software modification: Optionally, [X] may be implemented in the context of any of the foregoing figures, or in any other environment]

[additional possible boilerplate: any other prior definition may apply also to the description of this figure]

[describe alternative versions or implementations of the invention]

[end of description of all embodiments]

[0010]                                   While specific embodiments of the invention have been described, it is understood that the present invention is not intended to be limited only to such embodiments.  Additionally, the scope of the preferred embodiment should be defined by the following claims and their equivalents.

[end of description]


What is claimed is:

1.            A method/apparatus/system, comprising:

X1; and


2.            The method/apparatus/system of claim 1, wherein X.


A [system, method, apparatus, etc.] are provided for [X].

[this section is limited to 150 words. It is used by the USPTO to generally classify the patent.]

[some patent attorneys use the same language for the summary and the abstract]