Whats the best way to find an inventive concept OR idea from a patent OR patent application disclosure? A patent application is generally too lengthy and its hard to understand. Can somebody please let me know how to go about finding the core invention in the disclosed invention?

How much does a beginner and an experienced person takes in order to determine inventive concept?

  • Sandy, might I ask why you are trying to determine the inventive concept or idea in a patent application or patent?
    – user1620
    Oct 16, 2012 at 22:13
  • 1
    I am trying to determine the inventive concept in the patent. Oct 17, 2012 at 11:19

3 Answers 3


Unfortunately, the way that US patent law has been interpreted by the courts provides no incentive for a patentee to particularly identify the inventive concept associated with a patent. In fact, the law actually provides an incentive for patent attorneys to avoid providing any direct clue as to the particular inventive concepts associated with the invention. So, it is ordinarily a fairly difficult task to identify the inventive concept.

Although it may be hidden, there is always supposed to be an inventive concept -- otherwise no patent should issue. I like to first look at the drawings and references to the drawings. Then I look at a couple of the claims. When the patentee includes a background section, that is usually helpful. The abstract is rarely of any use.

  • It should have be made mandatory.
    – Pacerier
    Oct 11, 2015 at 17:55

Unfortunately, there is rarely a single sentence that will say "The inventive concept is X".

The abstract of a patent document is (in the U.S.) supposed to be a short description of the invention, but is not intended to have a lot of details about the specific invention. Abstracts are typically not very helpful.

In U.S. patents, the first section of the disclosure is usually the background. These can be helpful explaining things that are similar to the invention. Sometimes, the last paragraphs of this segment will have statements that try and explain what is wrong with the prior art and what the invention intends to correct/improve/fix. Again, there isn't a lot of detail about the exact invention, but it can helpful in finding the general concept for the patent.

Following the background is the summary of the invention. Some will have paragraphs that attempt to generalize the ideas and methods of the patent, but with varying levels of detail. Other summaries will be very generic restatements of claim language and won't be very helpful.

Later than that is the detailed description of the patent, i.e. the long, difficult to understand part.

At the end of the document (in the U.S.) are the claims. That's what is intended to be the invention and should include the inventive concept, but claim language can be challenging to understand.

Looking at the drawings can be useful. If you have knowledge of the technology related to the patent, you can pick out familiar elements in the drawings and attempt to guess what the 'inventive stuff' is based on what looks unfamiliar in the drawings. Also, matching things in the drawings to stuff that is in the claims can help with determining the invention.

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    Steve, thanks for detailing what every section in a patent disclosure is meant for and what reference we can take from it. I would also like to know how to shorten the time in order to get through the inventive concept. Oct 17, 2012 at 5:28

There is usually a summary of the invention being disclosed - often at the start of the patent documentation. Assuming the topic is to one's interest, it should be at least cursorily readable.

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