A detailed specification, containing a description and other information illustrating the invention, is essential in the quest for a patent
When inventors submit a patent application, they must describe their invention in what is known as a specification. This contains a description and other information illustrating the invention.
The specification provides support for claims that define the scope of the patent. It may also set forth a relationship to other patent applications previously filed by the inventor, to establish the priority date of the invention.
A specification often includes a background section; a detailed description of the invention; drawings and/or figures, with detailed descriptions; and definitions for any terms. It also specifically spells out what the invention is claimed to be.
Background section: This provides an understanding of the state of the relevant technological “art” or area, and may address problems in the state of the art.
Detailed description section: This portion of the specification should provide enough detail so that a person familiar with the technology can understand how to make and use the invention.
Drawings: These may be submitted with a patent application and must also be described in the specification. The description of the drawings allows the inventor to specify any preferred embodiments of the invention and add additional context to the invention.
The specification allows for others to understand the invention and determine what problem the invention solves. It also protects the inventor by putting the public and competitors on notice that they cannot make, use, import, or sell the invention claimed in the patent.
A patent examiner relies on the specification to understand the invention. A well-written specification can provide smoother collaboration between the applicant and the United States Patent and Trademark Office to allow the application to justify a patent.
Attorneys and judges rely on a specification to interpret the scope of the inventor’s rights and determine whether those rights are being infringed once the patent is granted.
To ensure that patent applications adequately disclose the claimed invention, Congress and the USPTO have created requirements for a legally sufficient specification. These guidelines can be found in the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure.