Patent Claims- Structure and Components

A patent claim is the most significant element of the patent application. Through patent claim, the applicant defines the range of his invention. In other words, the patent claim describes the subject matter of the invention and its extent that requires an exclusive right.

Section 10 of the Patents Act, 1970 provides that the complete specification must end with a claim/(s) stating the scope of the invention for which application is filed by the applicant.

What are the parts of a Patent Claim?

The preamble

  • The categorization of an invention is defined. Such as a device, an apparatus, a method,process, an article.
  • It must be in accordance with the invention title.
  • It may provide the object of an invention.

Transitional phrase

  • It includes open-ended phrases such as including, containing, characterized by. It can also include the additional elements of the invention. This part covers other elements or limitations of the invention, which expands the scope of the claim.
  • The other part restricts the scope of the claim to specific elements provided by the applicant through the use of the closed phrase (i.e., consisting of).

The Body

  • This part covers the explanation of the invention. Including the various aspects of the invention, its limitations, how different elements mentioned are related to each other.

How are claims categorized?

Independent Claims:

This type of claim covers:

  • Extensive details of the claim.
  • It does not require the support of any other claim. It is a complete and standalone claim.
  • The applicant can provide more than one independent claim in his application.

Dependent Claims:

  • Dependent claims are to be supported by another dependent or independent claim.
  • It shall not extend the scope of the invention that is provided in the independent claim.

What are the specific types of claims?

  • Apparatus Claims - It is used where an apparatus or device is to be protected.
  • Method Claims - Provides a series of steps that are required to gain the result of the invention.
  • Composition Claims- It is used where an invention includes chemical composition or components.
  • Product-by-Process Claims- It covers the invention where a product has to provide the process of manufacture
  • Biotechnology Claims- It is related to the practical uses of living organisms.
  • Software Claims - This covers inventions related to computer software/hardware.
  • Omnibus Claims- This refers to descriptions/drawings of the invention without providing any specific limitations.
  • Design Claims - For this type of claim, only one claim is permitted.
  • Use Claims - This can be said to be similar to the Method Claims.

Patent claims can play an important role in detecting any type of infringement being done by any other product. If the applicant fails to draft the patent claim properly, he might not be able to protect his invention completely from being used by someone else.

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