Crafting Strong Patent Claims
Building a Wall of Protection: Crafting Strong Patent Claims
When Forrest Bird invented the revolutionary Bird Respirator in the 1950s, saving countless lives by enabling groundbreaking ventilation techniques, the key to his patent wasn’t the physical components. It was Bird’s breakthrough method of controlling respiration that made his invention patentable and defined medical ventilation for decades. Like Bird, all inventors must ask themselves – what are the key innovative elements to include in my patent claims?
The claims define the legal boundaries of your patent rights, so their specificity in calling out the essential features of your invention is critical. But with the average patent containing close to 20 claims, knowing what to focus on can be challenging. You want your claims to create a virtual wall that competitors can’t get around.
Keys to Crafting Strong Patent Claims
According to patent experts at Global Patent Solutions LLC (GPS), you should ensure your key claims include:
- The novel aspects of the invention that made it non-obvious over the prior art
- Any unique configurations, combinations or arrangements of components
- The core functionality, method, process or system at the heart of the invention
- Clear linkage of tangible components for apparatus and system claims
- The essence of discoveries for medical, chemical, or biological inventions
Equally important is what you omit. Limiting claims to non-essential implementation details undermines their strength. A collaborative brainstorm with patent experts like GPS can help identify the true point of novelty while allowing flexibility on specifics.
Remember, the contents of your claims today determine what you can defend tomorrow. Well-constructed claims act as an impenetrable wall, forcing competitors to innovate beyond imitation. Be sure your claims have the key elements to withstand attack, or else your invention may be left legally exposed. Get it right from the start!
This article is part of a series entitled “A Guide to Protecting Your Innovations”. To start the series at the beginning, click here.
Next up in our series, we answer the question: “What fallback positions can we take with narrower claims?”