Patents the fundamentals


The title sets out the general overview or field of the patent. It is usually broad and general. Don’t give away the secret so early!

What is the invention to be used for?

Again keep this broad. But you need to specify the general field of technology the patent will be used in.

Prior Art

Prior art means what is already out there and already known in the field of technology. In most patent laws, prior art is expected to provide a description sufficient to inform the average worker in the field (or the person skilled in the art), published in fixed form and made available in public libraries. In the EU disclosure includes oral disclosure.

Objects and Consistory Clauses

These are simple statements which are frequently found in patents. An example of the former is “It is an object of the present invention…” whereas an example of the latter is “According to a first aspect of the present invention…”.

Description of the Drawings

Always (if appropriate) have clear and precise drawings. The drawings can be used to illustrate how the invention works.

Technical Description

This is usually the longest part of the application. This needs to be specific rather than legal. It must be described in a way in which a man skilled in the field could carry it out. This means sufficient detail must be provided to enable a skilled person to put the invention into practice with little inventive effort.


The claims define the precise scope of the protection being sought i.e. the 20 year monopoly. Once granted the claims will define what protection you will be seeking. It is important that any claim is drafted widely to protect as large an area as possible.

When will my patent be infringed?

A competitor will have to copy all of the specific features claimed. Only claim therefore those features that are indispensable to the operation of the invention.


This does not form part of the Patent but is used to aid searches.

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