The patent application process can be fairly complex and it is therefore critical that you hire a patent attorney is both experienced and qualified to handle the intricacies of the utility patent. The principal attribute of a utility patent is that it describes and claims the structure, composition, or operation of a product or process invention. In other words, it defines what the invention is and how it works.

A utility patent includes a specification that provides a detailed description of the invention, including identifying the best mode (best version), which is then contemplated by the inventor. It usually includes drawings illustrating the various components or steps of the invention. The specification may also include descriptions of different versions, or embodiments, of the invention.

At the end of a utility patent are claims which define the invention in legal terms, much like a property deed uses legal terms to define a piece of real estate. There are normally a number of different claims, each of which defines the invention in a slightly different manner. The broadest claims, called “independent” because they do not refer to any other claims, define various embodiments of the invention in the most generic manner. The remaining “dependent” claims further define the broad generic descriptions in more detail. They may specify particular components or steps in more detail, add more components or steps to the inventive combination, or otherwise “narrow” the broad generic definitions in different ways.


Howard M. Cohn & Associates has extensive and varied experience in all aspects of Intellectual Property law, with a unique specialty in patent and trademark preparation and prosecution. Schedule an appointment or call us at 800-613-1067.