As the claims are key to receiving complete protection for your invention, you may wish to seek professional help to ensure that they are properly drafted.
When writing this section you should consider the following:
Each claim should have only one meaning which can be either broad or narrow, but not both at the same time. In general, a narrow claim specifies more details than a broader claim. Having many claims, where each one is a different scope, allows you to have legal title to several aspects of your invention.
Here is an example of a broad claim (Claim 1) found in a patent for a collapsible tent frame.
Claim 8 for the same patent is narrower in scope and focuses on a specific aspect of one element of the invention. Try reading through the claims for this patent and notice how the section begins with broad claims and develops towards claims that are narrower in scope.
Three criteria to take note of when drafting your claims are that they should be clear, complete, and supported.
Your claim must be clear so that you don't cause the reader to speculate about the claim. If you find yourself using words such as "thin", "strong", "a major part", "such as", or "when required", then you are probably not being clear enough. These words force the reader to make a subjective judgement, not an objective observation.
Each claim should be complete, so that it covers the inventive feature and enough elements around it to put the invention in the proper context.
The claims have to be supported by the description. This means that all the characteristics of your invention that form part of the claims must be fully explained in the description. In addition, any terms you use in the claims must be either found in the description or clearly inferred from the description.
A claim is a single sentence composed of three parts: the preamble (or introductory phrase), the body (or purview), and the transitional phrase.
The preamble (or introductory phrase) identifies the category of the invention, and sometimes the purpose (for example, a machine for waxing paper, a composition for fertilizing soil).
The body (or purview) of the claim lists the main elements of the invention, such as parts of a device, steps of a process method, ingredients of a composition, or groups in the chemical formula of a compound.
The transitional phrase joins the previous two parts. It consists of words and phrases such as:
- "which comprises"
- " comprising"
- "consisting of"
- "consisting essentially of"
Note: The transitional phrase describes how the body of the claim relates to the introductory phrase. The transitional phrase is also important in assessing the scope of the claim as the phrase can be restrictive or permissive in nature.
In the following example, "A data input device" is the preamble, "comprising" is the transitional phrase, and the rest of the claim is the body.
"A data input device comprising:
- An input surface adapted to be locally exposed to a pressure or pressure force;
- A sensor means disposed below the input surface for detecting the position of the pressure or pressure force on the input surface and for outputting an output signal representing said position; and
- An evaluating means for evaluating the output signal of the sensor means."
Keep in mind
Just because one of your claims is objected to doesn't mean that the rest of your claims are invalid. Each claim is evaluated on its own merit. This is why it is important to make claims on all aspects of your invention to ensure that you receive the most protection possible. Here are some tips on writing your claims. Once you have finished this section you have only the abstract and petition to write!