How to draft a patent application

Drafting a patent document requires a large amount of collating of relevant information before the actual writing on the document can take place.  Before putting the services of a patent attorney to use, the inventor, or the person responsible for the IP management of a company, can carry out some preliminary steps to ensure the invention is worth patenting.

Invention Disclosure Form

An invention disclosure form contains all of the information on the product or process which you believe to have invented.  This is an important first step to help organise thoughts and explain the invention in a clear and concise way.  A detailed invention disclosure form template can be found here, and the essential information needed is summarised below:

Invention Disclosure Form

N.B. If you think you might discuss your invention with a potential collaborator, it is important to consider the protection a non-disclosure agreement would offer.  NDAs are written agreements signed by the inventor and the collaborator which detail the duty each party has to keep information on the new invention confidential.  Conversations with patent attorneys, solicitors or patent office staff are automatically confidential.

Patent Specification

The next step is to prepare a patent specification.  This may be done by the inventor, or preferably by someone experienced in your technological field as well as in patent issues who can assess whether your invention is appropriate for patent protection.  Patent attorneys are regulated and legally qualified and work closely with their clients to draft a patent specification.  The contents of a patent specification are shown in the diagram below:

Patent specification

The strength of a patent application depends greatly on how well the application has been drafted.  A patent application is both a legal and technical document and so it is advisable to seek professional help from a patent attorney to reduce the risk of your application falling at the first hurdle.