Everyone knows that patents protect inventions. But did you know that only the “claims” section of a patent—oftentimes less than a page in length—exclusively defines what’s legally protected? Put simply, if it’s not in the claims, it’s not patented.

But reading claims can be a daunting task, especially for someone not as familiar with reading patents. Claims can look like repetitive run-on sentences with peculiar indentations, excessive punctuation, and inflated legalese. In reality, there are several types of claims that follow specific formats and use special words to precisely recite what’s included—and what’s excluded—from the “claimed invention.”

Erik Chmelar, Sr. IP Attorney at Dilworth IP, has created a visual guide that presents basic claim types, formats, and language that will help you read—and actually understand—a majority of claims you may encounter.

Use this link to view and download the infographic:


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.