FOR IP PROFESSIONALS

Standard and innovation applications - what to include

Two IP Australia staff members having a discussion at their desk

Your innovation or standard patent application will be:

What a complete specification must include?

A complete specification is the basis for your patent. It must:

  • fully describe your invention so that others could reproduce it from the information given
  • give the best method of performing your invention
  • end with a claim or claims that define the invention the patent is to cover
  • be in English
  • be on single-sided A4 pages
  • have separate pages for claims and drawings
  • not include photographs
  • allow sufficient margins (i.e. at least 2.5 cm) around the edges of all pages.

What a claim should include?

Your specification must contain claims. A claim is a statement describing your invention. A claim should:

  • be written as a single sentence
  • define clearly what you are seeking patent protection for; the words of your claim must distinguish your invention from what is already known
  • set out all the characterising technical features of your invention
  • be consistent with the description.

For a standard patent you can have any number of claims. A certified innovation patent can have only five claims.

Please note that a standard patent application with more than 20 claims at acceptance will incur additional fees.

Independent claim

An independent claim is one that does not refer to any other claim. It must define those features that are essential to the invention.

A standard patent application can have more than one independent claim but they must all relate to the same invention. For example, if your invention is a new product you may be able to include independent claims for the product, a new process specially adapted to make the product, and perhaps a new apparatus to carry out that process.

Dependent claim

A dependent claim makes explicit reference to one or more previous claims.

You should ensure that the introductory words of each dependent claim refer to the whole of the earlier claim. This is usually achieved by repeating the introductory words of the independent claim and referring to the claim by number.

The extra features specified in dependent claims would be those that you consider desirable or optional, but not essential, to your invention. They are sometimes used as a safeguard just in case the invention in the independent claim is not new, or the independent claim is shown to be invalid after a patent has been granted.

They may also be of value when negotiating a licence agreement with a manufacturer.

Don't try to claim too much

Your claim must be reasonable and define only one invention.

If you try to claim too much, it may be difficult to obtain, or at least defend, those rights. If you claim too little you may miss out on valuable opportunities.

Because they determine the scope of the monopoly given by a patent, claims must:

  • be clear and concise
  • distinguish your invention from what is already known.

Poorly worded claims can be confusing and completely miss the true 'inventive step' in your technology.

Patent attorneys are experts at writing claims, which is why you may consider using their services.

Drawings

You should use drawings wherever possible to help describe your invention.

Drawings must be in black ink and drawn using either drafting instruments or computer software.

Significant features of the drawings should be clearly labelled by number(s) and described in the body of the specification.

Abstract

You should include an abstract at the back of your specification. This is a brief summary of your invention that will help the reader to quickly identify the key features.

What if I omit something or want to change it?

You are able to amend your patent application in certain circumstances.

Some amendments require you to supply evidence and others require us to advertise the amendment for a period of opposition.

Last Updated: 23/11/2013

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Bachelor of Arts (History & Genetics)

Trade Mark Examiner since 2005
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