Hi.  My name is Mark Trenner.  I’m a patent attorney.  I started my law firm, the Trenner Law Firm, in 2004, that is over 10 years ago, and ever since, I’ve been helping individual inventors, start-ups, small businesses and entrepreneurs protect their inventions by writing patent applications.  In the over 15 years that I’ve been registered with the Patent Office, I’ve written hundreds of patent applications.

Today I’m here to answer the question, what are the claims in a patent.  The claims are the most important part of the issued patent and the most important part of the patent application.  The claims are what you’ll find at the end of the patent, if you’ve ever looked at a patent.  If not, go download one off the patent office website and you’ll see what I mean. There’s all this description of the invention.  There is a background section, brief description of the drawings, and then a whole write-up of all these different things.  And then there are the drawings but that is not what the claims are.  The claims will usually say Claim, or what the claim is or we claim and will start no. 1, no. 2 or no. 3 and that’s actually defining what the invention is, what your property right is, what somebody would be infringing.  If it’s not in the claims, they’re not going to infringe it.  You can only infringe the claims of a patent.  The claims are really the most important part of the patent and you’re going to have both independent claims, those are claims that stand by themselves, and then dependent claims.  The dependent claims are the claims that say, for example, Claim No. 2 says the method of the claim no. 1 further comprising, in other words that’s dependent on claim no. 1 because it claims back to claim no. 1.  You have both independent and dependent claims. 

How many claims can you have?  Most patent applications have about 20 claims because 20 total number of claims is the number of claims you can have for the basic filing fee. You can file more than that, but you will have a higher filing fee that the patent office charges.  You’re usually going to see three independent claims, those are the stand alone claims and that’s because the patent office will give you three independent claims for the basic filing fee.  Again, you can have more than that if you pay a higher fee.  You can certainly have less.  You could have one claim if you want but that’s really not a good strategy.  You want to have as many claims as possible to cover the invention from all different aspects.

My name is Mark Trenner.  I am a patent attorney and I hope that today I answered your question what are the claims of a patent.

Recommended Posts