How Do You Read a Patent?

What do you really need to know?

Do You Know How to Read a Patent?

When I say read a patent I am referring to what might be considered the minimum capacity needed by a small business person or independent inventor to pick up, read, and understand a patent.

Do you need to have an in-depth knowledge of how to parse a patent description or dissect a claim. Not really. But there are many times when you may hear about a competitive patent and you would like to be able to pick it up and study it long enough to know if it is something you should be concerned about.

To do that you need to be able to first study the cover sheet and interpret it. If you are unfamiliar with patents, the cover sheet may seem difficult to understand or even incomprehensible. Even for those who have worked with patents, the significance of some of the items on the cover sheet is not always fully understood.

And that's just the first page.....

So I propose we step through all of the elements in a typical patent, so we can talk about how to spot critical information. And how to understand why the specification and claims are written the way the are.

A patent is actually a rather a complex document. made up of several parts, including a specification that describes the invention and how to make and use it, claims that specify what is protected by the patent, and drawings to help understand the invention. And then there is that cover sheet. The cover sheet contains important information about the patent. That information is of interest to many different individuals, including the patentee, potential licensees, competitors, and attorneys and judges.

The Plan

What we will do , in several parts is first:

    "Cover" the cover sheet.

    Then we will move on to talk about the specification - that is the main bulk of the patent.

    The drawings are often considered part of the specification - but we will review them separately.

    Then we will talk about the claims.

So let's begin by going to Part II - The Cover Sheet.


Read A Patent
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Patent Law
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Mike Ervin
Mike Ervin - Cost Effective Small Business Patent Protection.

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