Effective idea protection is only possible with well drafted description and claims. For description writing, there are several configurations of the chapter structure, but in principle, all of them are easily convertible between each other. Most authorized bodies accept specifications wrote in any major configuration, as regulated by WIPO, EPO, USPTO. Just in the US, the claims are drafted quite differently. We suppose to have a post about that next month. However, during prosecution in any national phase, it if corrections are needed, the expert will ask for that and no negative consequences shall follow.
Description and claim drafting
Patent description is a structured text describing the essence and embodiments of your invention. As a standard, it contains following chapters:
- FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
- BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
- DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
- DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
There is a certain logic and level of disclosure for writing each of these chapters. The general rule is that the information should be consistent between the chapters and the invention should be explained step-by-step - by describing the field, then indicating what is already known in the market or any publicly available documents. Then the features which should improve existing devices/methods/uses should be explained by indicating, what potential benefits it brings to the stakeholders/users. Thereafter drawings which are supplemented at the end of the patent description are briefly explained. Then detailed description of the invention and it's possible modifications is described.
Speaking about difficulty, so far I would say that a beginner inventor/patent drafter should carefully examine at least 10-20 different patent descriptions; then he should be capable writing a fairly good initial draft for the patent description (without claims). An advice would be to examine the patents which are found to be relevant to your invention when the preliminary search was performed. I give green light for this, as this really could be completed by the inventor, at to some extent. This is also a way of reducing patenting cost.
Claims, claims, claims!
Finally - CLAIMS is the most important part of the description - it should be formulated according to strict rules and every word in the claims might later have importance during International Search and litigation phases. I give red light for this, because it is always advisable to give someone the opportunity to look at the invention with an unbiased view and to judge which features ar worth to be included in the scope of protection, which are the most important ones and which should be left behind due to similarity to the background art. To narrow and to broad claims are both wrong an might lead to complicated prosecution and a lot of communication with the examiner. Furthermore - it might incurs additional cost, which is easily avoided, when writing claim wisely. There are patent attorneys, who think, that the more claims, the better. But again this is wrong and there is just one explanation - the attorney simply wants to issue bigger invoices for his/her service, because this is inefficiency cost wise for the applicant and not necessary in term of strength of idea protection.