What is the purpose of the claims of a patent application?

What is the purpose of the claims of a patent application?

The claims form the most important part of the patent application as they stipulate the scope of protection. In other words, the claims define what is protected. Claims should generally contain only and all the essential characteristics of the invention.

Patent applications commonly contain  different types of claims, with an aim to protect different aspects of the invention. The two basic categories of claims are:

  • Product claims aimed at a product (e.g. chemical compound, biological material) or a device, and
  • Method claims aimed at a procedure, process or method. A special type of method claim is the “use” claim (not allowable in all countries) protecting the (general) use of a product or process for a specific application.

The product claims provide the broadest coverage, because they cover the product and any use thereof. Method claims can be directed at a method of manufacture or at a use or a process.

By including several categories of claims in an application, potential infringers can be targeted at different levels including production, sale, and end use.

It is advisable to obtain expert advice in order to ensure that the application on your invention optimally covers the different aspects of your invention. De Clercq & Partners can help you to ensure that the claims are optimally drafted to ensure that different aspects of your invention are covered.