Structure of a Patent

Cite this article as:"Structure of a Patent," in The Business Professor, updated March 5, 2015, last accessed October 20, 2020,

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Filing a Patent

Obtaining patent protection for a new creation requires filing an application with the USPTO. Unlike trademark and copyright, there are no common law rights in a patent. Each type of patent application (utility, design, and plant) is broken down into the specifications section and claims section. Each type of patent also has optional material that may be included.


The specification provides a description of the process for creating and using the claimed invention. The primary portions of the specification are as follows:

  • Invention Title: The title should be short and descriptive of the invention. You should not use the commercial name or the business name.
  • Invention Background: This section should describe the proposed invention’s area of utilization. You may begin to describe the genesis for the invention and how it departs from other art in the field.
  • Summary of the Invention: Give a brief description of the invention, what need or want it addresses, and the value proposition of the invention for end users.
  • Drawings and Descriptions: You should include several line-figure drawings of the invention. You will want to include as many views (perspective, section, cut away, detail, etc.) of the item as it needed to provide a thorough description of each portion. Number each portion of the invention and provide its source (prior patent reference) or provide a brief description of it.
    • Note: A patent application pertaining to a combination of existing subject matter patent should describe how the previously disclosed items are used to create new utility.
  • Invention Detailed Description: Her you will give a detailed description of the invention. It should describe the utility of the invention and how it is differentiated with regard to other art in the field. You will also describe the “best mode” of production of the invention. You may also include references to or elaborate upon the description of the individual portions of the drawings. The detailed description should provide sufficient information to allow a person skilled in this type of invention (PHOSITA) to use or employ the invention. The PHOSITA should have to undertake much work or further study to employ the creation.

Claims Section

The claims section identifies the attributes of the invention that are claimed as proprietary. The claims section provides the extent of protection afforded by the patent. As such, you will identify individually the claimed aspects of the invention. Number each claimed element separately.

You may include drawings to further explain the invention and each claimed element. You may reference the same drawings as included in the specification. If the drawings are necessary to understand the claims, failure to include them may result in a denial of patent.

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