Patent Application Components
A patent application can only be filed with the Patent Office by the actual inventor or his or her representative. The basic elements of a patent application are as follows:
- A specification, including a claim or claims;
- Drawings, when necessary;
- An oath or declaration; and
- A filing fee.
A specification is a written description of the invention or discovery that must clearly and concisely describe the manner and process of making and using the invention. It must be specific enough to enable a person who is knowledgeable in the particular area to which the invention relates to make and use the invention. In addition, the specification must describe the invention in such a way as to distinguish it from other previously known inventions.
The specification must conclude with a claim or claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the applicant regards as his or her invention or discovery. The claims legally define the patentable features of the invention. Each claim is a single sentence describing precisely what new, useful, and nonobvious features constitute the actual invention. The claims are the most important part of an application since the monopoly granted by a patent covers only the material appearing in the claims. An example of a claim for a type of billiard table having a novel cushion is as follows:
A playing table comprising: a playing surface and a raised marginal edge portion surrounding said surface, said raised marginal edge portion having a longitudinally extending recess therein, and a cushion consisting only of a base disposed in said recess and a downwardly accurately extending cantilevered lip integral with said base and extending away from substantially the top of said base.
The applicant is required to furnish a drawing of his or her invention when necessary for understanding the nature of the invention. In other words, if it is possible to draw the invention, a drawing must be included. As many drawings as are necessary to fully describe the invention are required.
Patent Oath or Declaration
An oath or declaration must be signed and filed with the application, stating that the named inventor is believed to be the original inventor of the invention which is claimed. The oath must also acknowledge the applicant’s duty to disclose any information known to or later discovered by the inventor which is relevant to the examination of the application by the Patent Office.
The Patent Office also requires the submission of an Information Disclosure Statement by the applicant. An Information Disclosure Statement contains a listing of patent publications and other information of which the applicant is aware and which is relevant to the examination of his or her application. An applicant must submit this document in order to comply with the duty of candor and good faith toward the Patent Office. Failure to do so could later enable another party to invalidate the issued patent.