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Invention Analysis and Claiming:
Writing the Detailed Description - Part 1

By Ronald Slusky

Ronald Slusky mentored dozens of attorneys in “old school” invention analysis and claiming principles over a 31-year career at Bell Laboratories. He is now in private practice in New York City. This article is adapted from his 2007 book “Invention Analysis and Claiming: A Patent Lawyer’s Guide.” Ron’s two–day seminar based on his book will be given next month in New York.. See Ron can be reached at 212-246-4546 and

The Detailed Description should not be a flat, featureless field of undifferentiated details. It should be an attention-grabbing landscape with a central focus and clearly delineated features that stand out from the overall setting.

Unfortunately, however, that is often not the case.

Even if the Background and Summary do a good job of outlining the invention story, the invention disappears from view in many patents once the Detailed Description starts up. Readers are set loose to negotiate an expanse of details on their own without being shown how those details relate to the invention story.

A Detailed Description that does not continue to focus on the invention story misses an opportunity to help the reading audience better understand the invention. The fact that "it's all in there" only satisfies the minimum legal requirements of §112. It does not guarantee that the reader will be able to align the broad statements that characterize the problem and the solution with the specifics that appear in the Detailed Description. Most of the details in the Detailed Description do not illustrate the invention per se; they are there to provide an enabling disclosure and to satisfy best mode. Even a moderately simple Detailed Description may not make clear which aspects of the disclosed embodiment(s) correspond to the elements of the invention unless the correspondence is explicitly poi...

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