Basic Structure of Patent Claim


Patent claim form and language are highly stylized to emphasize precision and clarity. In this article, we will discuss basic claim form and the meaning of claim language.

The claims must start on a separate page. The claims are placed after the specification, though this is not particular prescribed. That said, most Patent Offices prefers the claims to follow the specification.

Every claim is a single sentence. A claim composed of two or more sentences, such as a claim with more than a single period, is improper. The claim must end with a period, and there is only one period (“.”) in a claim. Also, capital letters are used only at the beginning of the claim and to define standard capitalized forms (such as °C) in the body of the claim.

The claim is generally in the form:

  • Preamble: The preamble is a short introductory statement that precedes the body of every claim. The preamble of an independent claim can
    • summarize the type of invention,
    • identify the relationship between the invention and the prior art,
    • describe how the invention operates upon some external article, and
    • define the purpose of the invention.
  • Transition: Claims that recite a combination of elements require a transitional phrase between the preamble and the body of the claim. The term “transition” or “transitional phrase” is used to denote a word or words that introduce a further recitation of claimed features. Nearly all claims have a transition between the preamble and the remainder of the claim. These transitional phrases denote varying degrees of breadth of the scope of the claim. Some transitions are “open”; others are “closed”; yet others are partially closed.
  • Body: The body of a claim is written in the form of a narrative sentence that follows the preamble and the transitional phrases. The body of a claim consists of
    • a recitation of the elements of the invention, and

a description of how these elements structurally, physically, or functionally cooperate with each other to make up the invention.

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