• Why does "embodiment" seem now to be so favored by patent attorneys over the term "invention"?

CONTEXT: On a recent provisional, I had an experienced attorney consulting pro bono and the first thing they did was remove invention entirely from the application, favoring "method" or "embodiment". But I was using a mill for low-cost formatting, and the first thing they did was change all of the "embodiment" instances back to "invention". Mills area only suitable for provisionals, but I found it interesting they seemed to be so behind the times.

2 Answers 2


I can't speak for patent attorneys since I'm not one, but in my mind the words "invention" and "embodiment" aren't synonyms. An embodiment is a particular way of implementing the invention. When a patent gets drafted, there is usually a preferred embodiment and several alternative embodiments. The idea is to make it harder for others to design around the specific implementation to get the equivalent result.


As a former patent attorney, I recall routinely including terminology referring to "these and other embodiments of the disclosed invention..." as a way to help a reader more clearly focus on the fact that only the CLAIMS in a patent have any legal weight. A potential infringer cannot avoid liability by simply implementing "another embodiment" of the claimed invention that happens to be different from any described in the specification.

Also, if it's a U.S.A. design patent, you can only claim one invention, same as with utility patents, but you might illustrate multiple embodiments in the figures for somewhat broader coverage for obvious variations.

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