How to Refer Spatial Directions in Patent Application


How to Refer Spatial Directions in Patent Application : Sometimes it may be required to refer to a particular direction to describe one element or in general the apparatus or the device in the description or even the claims of a patent application. Many drafters make mistakes by not describing directions in a manner that may be universally applied.

Spatial Directions in Patent Application

Take for example, the invention is related to a “door”, as commonly used in homes. A common mistake that the drafter could make is by describing the said door in terms of “up” or “down” or “right” or “left”. It shall be understood that these directions have meaning only with regard to the drawings or particularly how the said door is shown in the drawings. Since the orientation of the said door in the drawing is matter of choosing of the drafter and/or the illustrator, such directions are arbitrary.

To avoid such mistake, the said door could be described with regard to the one of its edge or one of its functional element like hinge (if present) or any other element or edge or axis of the said door. For example, the said door can be defined in terms of its longitudinal axis and how the other elements of the said are door are located with respect to the said longitudinal axis.

Therefore, it is always advised to use directions that are independent of the spatial orientation of the particular element in describing the invention. For example, if there is a need to refer to any particular spatial directions it may be used, such as “proximal,” “distal,” “radially inwardly,” and the like. Such directional references are independent and thus do not impart any ambiguity to the disclosure.

That said, some inventions provide articles which has one specific orientation for its use, such as a “house table” which will always be placed with legs at the bottom and a base at the top of the legs. In such case, the use of directions such as, up or down or right or left can be considered suitable in some situations.

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