Claims are essential to a patent as they prescribe the limits of what you are attempting to protect. They constitute the legal framework for your patent, which clearly defines the boundaries upon which competitors may infringe. Patents might only have a single patent claim, whilst others may have well over a hundred.

It is therefore of paramount importance how you structure and phrase your claims. The significance of claims in your patent application is evidenced in the specialised skill sets acquired by patent attorneys, who generally require both technical expertise in the form of an engineering or science degree, and legal expertise in the form of, for example, a Masters degree in Industrial Property. In order to properly draft your patent, you should seek a patent attorney.


Two types of claims are pertinent to a patent —independent claims and dependent claims. Independent claims can be read alone so as to interpret them as the scope of the invention. Each dependent patent claim, however, must be interpreted in conjunction with the patent claim from which it depends.


A patent claim can be broad or narrow in scope. A narrow patent claim generally carries with it more details than a broader claim.


Each patent claim should be unambiguous so that an examiner or third party does not have to speculate about the meaning of the claim.


Each patent claim should be complete to the extent that it addresses the inventive aspect and sufficient surrounding elements to provide an appropriate context for the invention. However, each patent claim must only be a single sentence.


Each patent claim must be fully supported in the remainder of the patent application. All the characteristics of your invention forming the claims must therefore be comprehensively explained in the description. In addition, any terms that you use in the claims should be included in the description or clearly inferred from the description.

Important Disclaimer: The information on this website is not legal or professional advice. The information may:

  1. not be correct;
  2. only relate to the law or practice in a given country; and/or
  3. be outdated.

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