Patent Keys

Draft a Patent Application

How specific should the description be?

A patent is not a product specification. So, the level of detail necessary to convey your invention depends on the standard of: an ordinary person skilled in the field of art related to your invention. Your description should enable that hypothetical person, not a lay person, to practice your invention.

After your initial interview with your patent practicitioner, you can use your invention notebooks, figures, prototypes, pictures, etc. to create the supporting materials for the patent application. Your patent application includes


Title of Invention

It must be short & specific. Aim for a very short sentence.

Cross-References of Related Applications

If the application you are preparing is not original, meaning you have previously filed for the same invention in the past, you need to make reference to the first original application.

Statement as to Invention Rights under Federally Sponsored Research

In the case your invention was funded with federal money, the federal government may have rights to the technology and this must be stated here.

Compact Disk References

Information that supports your invention may be sent in with your application as a CD, e.g. gene sequences, tables, and software.

Background of the Invention

Describe the field of art related to your invention, and briefly describe the prior art. Now state the design challenge, set up the tension.

Brief Summary of the Invention

Provide a broad and condensed overview of your invention, and how it solves a problem.

Brief Description of the Drawings

If you are attaching copies of drawings you have prepared, include here a brief description of the contents and various views of the drawings.

Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments (Invention)

In this section you will teach the patent office and the world how to practice your invention. This is where you can help lessen your patent practitioner's work load by preparing a well-informed document. The description must fully disclose the invention.


Claims should be prepared by your patent practitioner, who will have you sign a release form (required by the USPTO) stating that you understand everything in the application, including the claims.


A concise overview of the invention, shorter than 150 words.

Drawings and photographs of any prototypes

Try to prepare some drawings if you have not done so already. They will probably help the patent practitioner understand your invention better.

If you have built prototypes take pictures of different views and mark the key components. Your patent practitioner may even request to see the actual prototype.

Prior Art Search Results

The prior art references should demonstrate that your invention is different form related, pre-existing technology, and will aid your patent practitioner when they start to draft the claims. Your prior art searches should now be referenced in your invention file. Download the PDF files at or Google Patents and print them out. Organize them by date and include them in your file. You may also attach technical articles, websites, or anything else that you think is relevant and described in related prior art.

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