Anatomy of a Patent [2024 Updated] – All You Need to Know

Peterson Watts Law Group, LLP

When it comes to inventions, one of the most common ways to protect them is through a patent. A patent gives exclusive rights to the holder to make, sell, or use the invention, excluding others from doing so for the duration of the patent. A patent has many different sections. In order to ensure that you have all the information you need, a California patent lawyer can help you with the patent process.

What Is in a Patent Document?

Before you begin creating your patent document, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the general requirements needed for a patent to be granted.

There are three different types of patents: utility, design, and plant. Each patent will vary on the exact specifics of what’s included in the document. Generally speaking, a patent document will have the following sections:

  • Summary/Front Page
  • Drawing Set
  • Specification
    • Background of the invention
    • List of Drawings
    • Description of the invention
  • Claims

These sections will provide all the necessary information for the invention.

The Patent Anatomy

Gaining patent rights can be incredibly beneficial for your invention. This is why it’s important to understand the anatomy of a patent. The sections in a patent include the following:

Summary: In the summary, the following elements will be included:

  • Title: The name of the patent.
  • Patent number: The number to identify the patent.
  • Inventors: The names of the inventors who contributed to the patent.
  • Serial number: The number given to every patent; each one has its own.
  • Abstract: Summary of the patent, in general terms. This is typically around 150 words (or less).
  • Prior Art References: List of references examined by the patent office. It was determined by the office that the invention was patentable.
  • Representative Drawing: One drawing selected by the examiner as a representation of the invention.

Drawing Set: Most patents include drawings. They help to illustrate what the written portion of the patent document is saying. Often, the patent document will reference the drawings throughout. All claimed elements must be shown in the drawings.

Specification: This section includes much of the most important information about the invention. Here, an inventor will introduce terminology related to the invention, which will later be referenced in the “claims” section. The specification includes the following subsections:

  • Background of the invention: This section gives general information about how the invention will be used and what issue it solves.
  • Description of the invention: The description explains the invention in such a way that the ordinary person would be able to use the invention after the patent expires. It will also describe the most effective way to make and use the invention.
  • List of drawings: This section will describe the drawings in detail. The name of every drawing will be mentioned here.

Claims: This is the most important part of the patent. It defines the patent’s rights. This section goes into detail about what the patent covers. It is very specific in what the inventor is claiming to be his/hers in regards to the invention. There are two types of claims included. Most patents have both:

  • System claims cover concrete things, such as a device or computer. System claims cover physical elements.
  • Method claims cover the steps for the invention’s creation and usage.

Filing a Patent

Once you have completed the patent process, you must file your patent paperwork, along with any fees and additional requirements determined by your patent type. A patent lawyer can file on your behalf as well.

How a Patent Lawyer Can Help

A patent lawyer can help file your paperwork and make sure you have all the elements needed for the submission process. If done incorrectly, the results can be costly and time-consuming.

At Peterson Watts Law Group, we are qualified to help protect your rights, defend your concerns, and prosecute infringements. A patent lawyer will also ensure that you receive proper compensation for your invention.


Q: What Is the Anatomy of Patent Specification?

A: The anatomy of patent specification is the written portion of the patent (not including the front page). This is the bulk of the patent document, going into detail about the specifics of the invention. This section shines a light on the claims made in the following “claims” section. This is where others will be able to understand your invention, what it does, and how it works.

Q: What Is The Anatomy of a Patent Case?

A: “The Anatomy of a Patent Case” is a book that outlines every step of a patent case. It goes into great detail regarding everything necessary to take a patent case to trial. It talks about the differences between a patent trial and other types of similar litigations. The book also goes into depth about different laws related to patents.

Q: What Is the Most Important Section of a Patent?

A: The most important section of a patent is the “claims” section. This section is important because it details specifically what the inventor is claiming as their own exclusive rights. It outlines specifically what the patent covers. There are two types of claims typically included in this section: system claims and method claims. Most patents have both.

Q: What Are the 5 Requirements of a Patent?

A: In order to be considered patentable, the patented item must be:

  1. Statutory: Can the invention be patented?
  2. Novelty: It must be a new invention and not sold or discussed publicly in publication more than a year before filing.
  3. Usefulness: It must be useful, according to the definition of the law.
  4. Non-obviousness: Would it be obvious to someone with the basic necessary skills in the same field?
  5. Enablement: The patent document must be written so that someone in a similar field can make and use the invention.

We know that patent law can be complex. At Peterson Watts Law Group, LLP, our goals are to make sure you are compensated for your invention and that your rights are validated. We want to communicate the law to you in a way that is easy to understand. If you have had an infringement on your invention, or if you need assistance with patent law and filing, contact Peterson Watts Law Group, LLP today.