Patent Applications – Written Description Requirement

One of the most important aspects of the written description is to provide a clear description of the invention for which patent protection is being claimed. The claims of the patent define the boundaries of what is to be protected by a patent, and, in a patent infringement action, the analysis of whether a patent has been infringed will begin with a construction of the claim language to determine whether an aspect of an invention is protected at all. In addition, the written description described within the specification of the patent serves the main objective of patent law by placing within the public domain the knowledge of the invention, including the manner of making, using and practicing the new ideas embodied by the invention.

Under U.S. Law, the patent application must meet certain requirements, including describing in sufficient detail the manner and process of making and using the invention to be patented in sufficiently full, clear, concise, and exact terms. This description must enable a person of ordinary skill in the field in which the invention is classified (the “art”) to make and use the invention. This requirement ensures that the invention is described and communicated to the public in a meaningful way so that the invention contributes to public knowledge; accordingly, a patent claim may be ruled invalid if it is not supported by an enabling description.

The best mode requirement ensures that an inventor discloses the best way he or she knows of making and using the invention. This prevents an inventor from providing public knowledge of a functional yet inferior invention while keeping for his or her own benefit a better invention. Failure to disclose the best mode of making and using an invention may lead to the invalidation of a patent. Determination of whether the best mode has been disclosed is largely a subjective process. An inventor is not required to disclose as the best mode the use of a material in the invention that would render the invention commercially impractical even though use of that material would enhance the performance of the invention. In addition, if certain aspects of an invention perform equally well with several alternatives, the best mode requirement does not require an inventor to choose among the alternatives.

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