A patent specification is a techno-legal document based on which patent rights are decided. The patent document includes several section, which includes, title, abstract,specification, drawings and always one or more claims. Claims are the ones that defines the metes and bounds of an invention. In other words, claims define the scope of patent right. Claims are drafted such that it defines the boundaries of the invention with a purpose of providing clear notice of the claimed invention. Basically claims provide notice to the public, usually a business entity seeking to avoid a patent of what patent covers.
There are basically two types of options available for filing a patent application, a provisional application and a complete application. A provisional application is also a techno-legal document filed in the patent office. The provisional application establishes an early filing date, but does not mature into an issued patent unless the applicant files a regular non-provisional patent application within one year.The provisional application includes a specification, i.e. a description, and drawing(s) of an invention but does not require formal patent claims.
The main difference between a provisional and a complete patent application is, a complete application(non-provisional patent application) will have a “claim” section, whereas the claim section will be absent in a provisional application.
In a computer related invention, the patent application may disclose a computer processor or hardware that may be sufficient for enabling a general computing function. However, mentioning a computer processor or hardware may not be sufficient for enabling a structure for performing a specific function, since novelty in computer related inventions most often resides in the software or the computer program that is being executed on the computer processor or the hardware, not the hardware itself. Generally, in inventions related to technologies, such as mechanical engineering, the corresponding structure for functional claim is easily identifiable. However, when it comes to identifying the “corresponding structure” for a computer related invention (ex: means for selecting a data file), an “algorithm” is the one which carries out the claimed function, and is usually regarded as the corresponding structure for a computer-implemented means-plus-function limitation.
The algorithm need not necessarily be in the form of source code; the algorithm may be expressed in any understandable terms, such as mathematical formula, in prose, or as a flow chart, or in any other manner that provides sufficient structure.
For example, if an encoder is claimed using functional language, disclosure of a computer processor or hardware may not be sufficient for enabling a structure for performing the claimed encoding function. The specification must describe in detail, may be by using a flow chart, the method of carrying out the function recited in the claims.
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