Explaining functionality not as helpful as you thought

One of the biggest mistake that a inventor do is that they spend too much time talking about what the invention does and very little time explaining what the invention is and how it operates to deliver the functionality being described. Explaining the functionality of an invention or components of an invention is helpful, don’t take it other way but only explaining something in terms of function leave many question and leads to disclosure that is not terribly descriptive an absolute nightmare for patent application. For example, assume you are unfamiliar with couch. if i were to try and describe a couch by explaining that you sit on it to watch TV, would that bring to mind a couch? It might also bring to mind a chair a recliner or perhaps as love seat. Notice also that when describing the couch for sitting I am leaving out lying on the couch. If I were to describe the couch structurally, however, the reader would be able to understand that you could sit on it or lay on it. Of course, if I were to describe the structure of the various components, how they are put together and then tie that together with a description of the functionality provided that would lead to the best description.

Too Specific, Expand to general

It is importantly to be specific but not just specific but. lets understand this with an example. Assume your invention requires a towel of some sort,” A towel made of cotton”. This would be limiting because the only material described is cotton. It would be limiting because the only material described id cotton. It would be better to say ” a towel of washable fabric such as cotton, nylon, polyester etc. Notice here how the description starts off as generic and the also makes reference to specific types of fabrics. Notice also that saying “washable fabrics”, would limit with respect to those fabrics that are not washable  but rather would be dry-cleaned. Thus the key is to say things as generic as possible to start, which will capture as much ground as possible and then to specifically identify as many of particulars as possible.

One of the most important thought. Using the term etc, etc. While that may seem a great way to expand the description this is a mistake. By using the term etc, you are asking the reader to use his or her own imagination. You are asking him to fill in the blanks you left with other similar items. This is bad for least several reasons in fact. First it allows ambiguity to enter into your description and ambiguity is one of the worst enemies of patent drafting. Second “etc.” is non-specific. Given that you have to disclose the invention in particular and specific terms, using a non-specific catch-all like “etc”, is simply not helpful. Notice that however that in order to avoid common everyday non-specific languages we introduce a term that has a specific meaning.  This is what makes drafting a patent so difficult.

As you address one issue another pops up. The moral here is to be specific, but not only specific. Consider using general characteristics where appropriate, and if a term of art creeps into your writing best practice is to define it to remove ambiguity.



Drafting a patent application can be difficult and daunting undertaking. The information provided above is to educate those who are going to attempt to prepare and file their own patent application.