I'm writing the detailed description of a computer implemented system. I have explained what the system does, that's where the inventive subject matter is. I have explained an exemplary architecture where embodiments of the system can be implemented. I have explained a block diagram with the software parts of the system and I have explained all the steps of 8 flow charts.

I wrote some system claims before writing the description. Then I thought to claim the same from a method point of view, so that I have both system and method claims. The system claims I wrote look already a bit like a method, as besides stating the parts of the system, they go through the main steps that the system follows. I must say, I'm just learning how to write a patent, that's why the after thought about method claims.

The question is, if I claim the same system from a method point of view, do I have to write a detailed description that states what the system does from a exclusive method point of view? Or a system description, with all these flowchart I added, is enough to support both system and method claims?

  • 2
    Writing claims is hard to learn. Method claims and system claims can both get adequate support from the type of discription you outlined in your question. I am posting this as a comment rather than an answer because I'd like to be helpful but claiming is difficult. On an encouraging note - the wording of your question suggests you have immersed yourself in the field more than most pro-se inventors. Good luck.
    – George White
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 22:40

1 Answer 1


Ultimately it is up to you, but consider the consequences of your decision:

  1. You write some additional language describing how to perform the method. All you've lost is the time spent writing that additional language, much of which can be adapted from your system language, not to mention the flowchart you already created.

  2. You submit the application as-is and see what happens. Two years from now, when the PTO actually assigns your application to an examiner's docket, the examiner looks over your application and concludes there is not enough to support the method claim. So you try to amend the application with a description of the method. Except the examiner won't let you; he says your amendment is barred by 35 USC § 132(a) ("No amendment shall introduce new matter into the disclosure of the invention"). You try explaining that you're NOT introducing new matter, you're just describing what is happening in the flowchart. The examiner may or may not agree, depending on whether he's had lunch yet; either way, your fate is in the PTO's hands, because you opted for option 2. Meanwhile, you'll have to pay fees for this back and forth.

TL;DR: Describe the method unless you have a good reason to leave it out (i.e. not lazyness).

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