Patent Drafting Tip: Focusing on the problem

One role of the patent attorney is to help the inventor think more broadly.  One way to accomplish this is by thinking about an “objective” of the invention — what problem is being solved by the invention?

These days, many practitioners believe that explicitly stating the objectives of the invention is taboo.  However, even if you do not write about the objectives, they should be at the heart of your thinking during the patent drafting process.  Russ Krajec, a Colorado based patent agent has written about his methodology:

I try to focus on the problem being solved by the invention and to include every possible embodiment that could be used to solve the problems of the brand new field. . . . In a crowded field, the problem may be pretty narrow. For example, if the invention was a lower cost version of a common item, the problem solved is cost reduction. By looking at the invention from a ‘problem solved’ standpoint, I can more easily identify other solutions to the lower cost solution. These other solutions give the patent much more commercial value, since it cuts a much wider swatch to protect the basic concept, which is cost reduction.

Krajec notes that his problem-centric approach also helps overcome the potential for easy work-arounds and results in a stronger, more valuable patent.