Written by attorney Sreenivasarao Vepachedu

Patent Application Drafting 101: The format of the patent application

The format of the patent application

Title of Invention: The title of the invention (or an introductory portion stating the name, citizenship, residence of each applicant, and the title of the invention) should appear as the heading on the first page of the specification. Although a title may have up to 500 characters, the title must be as short and specific as possible.

Cross-Reference to Related Applications: Any nonprovisional utility patent application claiming the benefit of one or more prior filed copending nonprovisional applications (or international applications designating the United States of America) under 35 USC §§120, 121 or 365(c), or to a provisional patent application under 35 USC §119(e) must contain in the first sentence(s) of the specification following the title, a reference to each prior application, identifying it by the application number or international application number and international filing date, and indicating the relationship of the applications, or include the reference to the earlier application in an application data sheet under 37 CFR §1.76. See 37 CFR 1.78. Cross-references to other related patent applications may be made when appropriate.

Statement Regarding Federally Sponsored Research or Development (if applicable): This section should contain a statement as to rights to inventions made under federally sponsored research and development (if any). See MPEP §310 for more information.

Reference to Sequence Listing, a Table, or a Computer Program Listing Compact Disc Appendix (if applicable): Any material submitted separately on a compact disc must be referenced in the specification. The only materials accepted on compact disc are computer program listings, gene sequence listings, and tables of information. All such information submitted on compact disc must be in compliance with 37 CFR §1.52(e), and the specification must contain a reference to the compact disc and its contents. The contents of compact disc files must be in standard ASCII character and file formats. The total number of compact discs including duplicates and the files on each compact disc must be specified in the specification.

If a computer program listing is submitted and is over 300 lines long (each line of up to 72 characters), the computer program listing must be submitted on a compact disc in compliance with 37 CFR §1.96, and the specification must contain a reference to the computer program listing appendix. A computer program listing of 300 or less lines may be, but is not required to be, submitted on compact disc. The computer program listing on compact disc will not be printed with any patent or patent application publication.

If a gene sequence listing is to be submitted, the sequence may be provided on a compact disc in compliance with 37 CFR §1.821-1.825, in lieu of submission on paper, and the specification must contain a reference to the gene sequence listing on compact disc.

If a table of data is submitted, and the table would occupy more than 50 pages if submitted on paper, the table can be submitted on a compact disc in compliance with 37 CFR §1.58, and the specification must contain a reference to the table on compact disc. The data in the table must properly align visually with the associated rows and columns.

Background of the Invention: This section should include a statement of the field of endeavor to which the invention pertains. This section may also include a paraphrasing of the applicable U.S. patent classification definitions or the subject matter of the claimed invention.

Also, it should contain a description of information known to you, including references to specific documents, which are related to your invention. It should contain, if applicable, references to specific problems involved in the prior art (or state of technology) which your invention is drawn toward. See MPEP 608.01(c) for more information.

Brief Summary of the Invention: This section should present the substance or general idea of the claimed invention in summarized form. The summary can include the advantages of the invention and how it solves previously existing problems. Preferably, problems are identified in the Background of the Invention section. A statement of the object of the invention may also be included. See MPEP 608.01(d) for more information.

Brief Description of the Several Views of the Drawing: Where there are drawings, you must include a listing of all figures by number (e.g., Figure 1A) and with corresponding statements explaining what each figure depicts.

Detailed Description of the Invention: In this section, the invention must be explained along with the process of making and using the invention in full, clear, concise, and exact terms. This section should distinguish the invention from other inventions and from what is old and describe completely the process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or improvement invented. In the case of an improvement, the description should be confined to the specific improvement and to the parts that necessarily cooperate with it or which are necessary to completely understand the invention.

It is required that the description be sufficient so that any person of ordinary skill in the pertinent art, science, or area could make and use the invention without extensive experimentation. The best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out the invention must be set forth in the description. Each element in the drawings should be mentioned in the description. See MPEP 608.01(g) for more information.

Claims: The claim or claims must particularly point out and distinctly claim the subject matter which the inventor or inventors regard as the invention. The claims define the scope of the protection of the patent. Whether a patent will be granted is determined, in large measure, by the scope of the claims. A nonprovisional application for a utility patent must contain at least one claim. The claim or claims section must begin on a separate physical sheet or electronic page. If there are several claims, they must be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals.

One or more claims may be presented in dependent form, referring back to and further limiting another claim or claims in the same application. All dependent claims should be grouped together with the claim or claims to which they refer to the extent practicable. Any dependent claim that refers to more than one other claim ("a multiple dependent claim") shall refer to such other claims in the alternative only. Each claim should be a single sentence, and where a claim sets forth a number of elements or steps, each element or step of the claim should be separated by a line indentation.

Abstract: The purpose of the abstract is to enable the USPTO and the public to determine quickly the nature of the technical disclosures of your invention. The abstract points out what is new in the art to which your invention pertains. It should be in narrative form and generally limited to a single paragraph, and it must begin on a separate page. An abstract should not be longer than 150 words. See MPEP 608.01(b) for more information.

Drawings: A patent application is required to contain drawings, if drawings are necessary to understand the subject matter to be patented. Most patent applications contain drawings. The drawings must show every feature of the invention as specified in the claims. Omission of drawings may cause an application to be considered incomplete and no application filing date will be granted by the USPTO. Please see the detailed Drawing Requirements section.

Sequence Listing (when necessary): This section, for the disclosure of a nucleotide and/or amino acid sequence, should contain a listing of the sequence complying with 37 CFR §1.821 through 37 CFR §1.825 and may be in paper or electronic form.

Common Application Format: During the November 2007 Trilateral Conference, the USPTO, the European Patent Office (EPO), and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) agreed on a common application format. This format, which was developed in consultation with users from the three regions, will simplify and streamline application filing requirements in each Office to allow applicants to prepare a single application in the common application format for acceptance in each of the three Offices. The following is an example of a patent application format which complies with the Common Application Format.


Title of Invention

Technical Field


Background Art


Summary of Invention

Technical Problem


Solution to Problem



Advantageous Effects of Invention


Brief Description of Drawings


Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Description of Embodiments




[ 0010]

Example 1


Example 2


Industrial Applicability


Reference Signs List


Reference to Deposited Biological Material


Sequence Listing Free Text


Citation List

Patent Literature


Non Patent Literature



Claim 1

Claim 2



Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Sequence Listing

Current USPTO rules and procedure are consistent with the Common Application Format. While some of the requirements of the Common Application Format go beyond what the USPTO requires, the USPTO will accept an application in the Common Application Format. Further information on the common application format and the implementation status of the common application format in each of the Trilateral Offices is available at

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