You are already aware that the patent specification is the body of the patent that includes all of the background, summary, detailed description of your invention and the claims. What you may not know about is the peculiar set of rules that define what should and should not be in the specification.
These rules are spelled out in a rather short section of the patent rules at 35 USC § 112 (Patent Specification). When you read them they sound rather straightforward (for something written by congress) but like all laws the history of case law has clarified and redefined what almost every sentence really means. Your patent practitioner is the one who has to deal with the patent specification but you should understand the boundary conditions he/she is operating under. So we will spend a little time here exploring this important topic.
The Rule as Written
35 USC § 112 has six paragraphs. The last five are the rules for claims - the first short paragraph (actually just one sentence) contains the rules for the written description. Let's start out by looking at 35 USC § 112 in its entirety.
35 U.S.C. § 112 [Patent Specification]
As mentioned, The last five paragraphs are the rules for claims - the first short paragraph, contains the rules for the written description. But don't let that short first paragraph fool you - it is loaded with little traps for the unwary - and many practitioners have been caught in those traps. So we will begin in the next article by exploring this little paragraph - particularly that first little phrase - the Written Description.
The Patent Specification (35 USC § 112)
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Mike Ervin - Cost Effective Small Business Patent Protection.
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