Intellectual Property: Anatomy of an Issued Patent
K. A. Zullow and R. A. Karmas. Goodwin Procter, New York, NY. Cereal Foods World 53(4):236-239.
This column introduces the various parts of a patent in an attempt to familiarize the reader with the structure of patents and thereby facilitate reading, navigating, understanding, and using patents. There are several sections to a patent: the cover, drawings (where needed), specification, and claims. The cover contains useful information as to patent term, related patents, inventorship, ownership, and information considered by the examiner when determining patentability. The specification provides background regarding the field of the invention and the problem that the invention solves. The specification must satisfy the written description, enablement, and best mode requirements of patentability. The claims define the legal boundaries of a patentís scope. Construing patent claims requires looking at the language of the claims, the specification, and the prosecution history. This often requires the assistance of patent counsel. Claim construction must be performed before assessing infringement or validity. Companies often seek opinions of counsel before launching new products.