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Invention Analysis and Claiming:
What Should I Write First?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. Ron’s widely praised two–day seminar based on his book, “Invention Analysis and Claiming: A Patent Lawyer’s Guide,(American Bar Association, 2007), will be given this year in New York, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Santa Clara, and Las Vegas. For details see Ron can be reached at 212-246-4546 and

There are a number of advantages to writing the Detailed Description only after writing the Background and Summary.

A Background and Summary written following the guidelines offered in previous columns 2 serve as a perfect outline for the Detailed Description. A well-crafted Background and Summary guides the patent drafter as to what should be introduced, and when, in telling the expanded version of the invention story that is the Detailed Description. In my own practice, the Detailed Description often contains each sentence of the Summary, or something very close to it, expanded upon with embodiment details. Key sentences from the Background are sometimes also included.

A Detailed Description written in this way provides its reader with a clear picture of which aspects of the Detailed Description illustrate the broad, general statements made in the Background and Summary. It imbues the overall specification with a pedagogic unity and cohesiveness that is hard to achieve when the Detailed Description is written first.

As an example, here are excerpts from the Summary and Detailed Description of a patent application purporting to disclose the very first chair. Note how the Detailed Description repeats, and expands upon, each idea set forth...

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