A good patent is easy to read

A good patent is easy to read.

If you can’t understand your patent application, neither can the patent examiner.

Many people tell me that they did not understand their patent application because their attorney used “legalese”. Some even joke that it was so dense that they did not even know if their invention was in there.

Make no mistake about it: a good patent is easy to read. It is difficult to write a clear description, and it takes ingenuity, thoughtfulness, and a big effort (read: motivation) to fully understand the invention, digest it to its essence, and write a clear description.

As much as I would hate to admit it, the key to good writing comes from sixth grade book reports: clear topic sentences for every paragraph, clear and simple sentence structure, and direct, active voice whenever possible.

Why does it hurt your patent when it is badly written? Other than the fact that your attorney did not understand the invention and probably made omissions or errors in describing the invention, it is crucial for the examiner to understand the invention.

When the examiner understands the invention, the examiner can find the relevant prior art and give a legitimate rejection or allowance. If the examiner cannot figure out your invention from your attorney’s lousy description, the examiner will cite whatever art possible to reject the invention.

The *commercial value* of the patent is dependent on getting a good examination. Much of the criticism of patents is that bad ones get allowed. Well, the blame starts with the patent attorneys who write bad patent applications.