People often don’t understand what exactly a patent is. I’m going to take the next few blog posts to describe the different parts of a patent. A patent generally consists of several items:
- Background / Field of Invention
- Description of the Drawings
- Detailed Description of the Invention
Each of these sections serves a different purpose. Some of them are required, some of them are suggested (this requires a really close reading, and some persuasive arguments with patent examiners, to establish which is which).
Undoubtedly, the claims and the description are the most important parts of a patent application, followed very closely by the drawings, but only because sometimes drawings aren’t necessary. But the background helps set the tone and context of the application, introducing the reader to the problem to be solved. And the description of the drawings can help explain what the drawings show very quickly, allowing the more cursory reader to understand the invention sooner.
Understanding the elements of a patent will help you understand better the nature of a patent, the scope of protection it affords, and a little bit about how an application is written and why.