How to Read a Patent: A Visual Guide for Innovation Stakeholders

Executives, attorneys, developers, and inventors play important but different roles in the innovation process. So when these stakeholders read a patent, they can save time and increase effectiveness by focusing on parts of the patent that are most relevant to their respective role. This infographic depicts four primary parts of a patent—cover sheet, drawings, claims, and specification—and identifies how each part is important to each stakeholder. This infographic was created by Erik Chmelar, PhD, senior associate with Dilworth IP who specializes in the computer, electrical, and semiconductor arts.


Business Executive: Intellectual property has become the cornerstone of many successful companies. An executive should be able to recognize and mitigate the likelihood of infringing a competitor’s patent. —Focus on the claims.

General Counsel: Successful companies can become targets for patent litigation. An attorney should be aware of ways that a patent can be invalidated. —Focus on the cover sheet.

Product Developer: With today’s remote workforce it is not always possible for R&D and product development teams to sit together. A product developer should be able to extract important technical details from a patent. —Focus on the drawings.

Inventor: Patents can only be granted for “new” inventions. An inventor should understand how to determine whether his invention has already been patented by someone else. —Focus on the specification.

Use this link to view and download the infographic:

How to Read a Patent: A Visual Guide for Innovation Stakeholders PDF


Image credits: Photo by WayHomeStudio on Freepik.

This article is for informational purposes, is not intended to constitute legal advice, and may be considered advertising under applicable state laws. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only and are not necessarily shared by Dilworth IP, its other attorneys, agents, or staff, or its clients.