People with unique inventions should consider the protections that a patent may provide.
A patent can provide a number of crucial protections, and the process can seem a little lengthy and difficult to get through. One of the most important parts of the application is the claims.
What purpose do claims serve?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office discusses patent claims, a crucial part of the patent application process. First of all, what is it?
This is the equivalent of a survey and deed in terms of real property, i.e., physical property. It defines the boundaries of what the patent holder owns. It also alerts the public to what they cannot use, make, sell or offer without permission from the patent holder.
Because of this, the claim is often defined as the backbone of the patent application and, in fact, the patent itself. Numerous claims can exist within one patent, too. This is to cover the numerous potential scenarios that may crop up with patent prosecution. Claims can get amended or narrowed over time.
A balancing act
Under the law, each claim must exist as a single sentence. It also includes three parts: the preamble, traditional phrase, and elements.
With fewer elements, the claim exists on a broader scope. This makes it harder for competitors to avoid infringing. However, enough elements must exist to show that the invention is novel and non-obvious.
In short, it is a bit of a balancing act that just about anyone may end up struggling with. This is why so many people who wish to write patents turn to outside help as they tackle the legal writing.