Patent Drafting: Language Difficulties, Open Mouth Insert Foot


The following post was written by Gene Quinn , of IPWatchdog and Practice Center Contributor.

Lately I have been this “educational” mindset more than is usual. Not only am I gearing up for the run of summer PLI Patent Bar Review Courses, which begin [this] week in New York City, but at the beginning of June I will be teaching a Patent Prosecution course for a week at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois. What better topic to revisit than the importance of using the right language when describing an invention and dealing with an examiner. Patent attorneys darn near need to be magicians when it comes to language, which is the primary tool of our craft. Picking the right word and the right way to say things is critical. Even more critical, perhaps, is not saying the wrong thing, or worse yet saying something that is clear but not what you intended.

When dealing with the topic of picking and using the right language to describe an invention in a patent application it is worth observing that having a dictionary and thesaurus at the ready is a pre-requisite to being a good drafts-person. If you are not consulting a dictionary and thesaurus you are doing yourself, or your client, a tremendous disservice. But picking the right word is but one of the problems, and probably the easiest to deal with if you train yourself not to assume you have a Shakespearean grasp of the English language and force yourself to consult that dictionary and thesaurus. So today I thought I would focus on a couple big ticket matters that are easy to overlook, at least when patent novices are doing the drafting.

Click here for the full IPWatchdog article.

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