Patent claims drafting is considered by many as an art, and not particularly a precise science. That is to say that, there is no universally accepted correct or best claim for a particular disclosure. The following points provides some general tips for drafting proper patent claims, what experienced practitioners have learned and put into practice.
- The coverage should be as broad as possible. Broad coverage means not only that every particular preferred disclosed embodiment is protected in the claims, but that the claims shall try to cover all unanticipated equivalents that competitors and others may later develop.
- The claims should be as broad in scope as the prior art permits. The claim should not read on the prior art. The claims should be written in a way that the claimed invention should improve upon the prior art. While writing the claims, the prior art establishes the maximum breadth of claim scope. The concept of the invention typically is its distinguishing feature over the prior art.
- Patent claims typically are not result dependent, that is, they do not merely claim an apparatus or method for achieving a particular result. Instead, they claim several product elements or a series of method steps which achieve a particular result. So the claims shall be drafted in view of that.
- Avoid the unnecessary limitations in the claims. That is, those limitations which are not dictated by the prior art should be avoided in the claims.
- The claims should cover different perspectives or points of view of an invention. That is, the drafter shall try to cover as many different embodiments as possible.
The aforementioned points may help to draft a broader claim, but the list should not be considered exhaustive. Over the course of next articles, we will discuss some claim drafting techniques in detail and further expand on above points.