Method to the madness: dissecting the U.S. patent, Part 2

Previously we discussed initial sections of the United States utility non-provisional patent application with examples from my client’s U.S. Patent No. US 6,976,945 B1 at [hereinafter “Lim,” the named inventor]. As with most United States patents, Lim’s most comprehensive section is the Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiment and Other Embodiments [hereinafter Detailed Description]. Also in Lim the mechanical embodiments are structurally and functionally related physical models and prototypes. However, in chemical and biological inventions, often the embodiments will be related groups of molecules or other substances. For related methods, the differences may lie in, for example, pressure, oxygenation, time intervals or temperature, to name a few.

For many mechanical inventions the detailed description of the invention begins with one component at the top, base, anterior or posterior of the prototype. The drafter then describes components that physically attach to this initial component. Serially the drafter then describes parts that connect and physically attach to the initial components. Finally, the entire prototype is described so each structural component is physically attached to adjacent parts and the entire device is internally interconnected.

With this approach, all parts are physically and structurally interconnected according to patent law requirements. For example, with Lim there is an initial description of the base, base bars, and upwardly protruding vertical components. Next follows discussion of components such as arm grips, rubber grips and speed bag support bars. Lim’s text for components is complemented by drawings with figure numbers. Figure numerals in Lim, as well as reference numerals, correspond to the reference numerals in the text that describes the identical components.

For Lim there are several levels of physical complexity and height. Consequently, there are figures for the entire device from different views such as lateral, posterior and anterior, top and base. The drafter will also ‘zoom in’ on the portions or combinations of components that contain what the inventor consider the innovation. Consequently, the Lim drawings must also illustrate innovative portions of his exercise device in more detail. In addition to physically interconnecting the components in the specification, for Lim it was necessary to superimpose categories of components onto the discussion such as connectors, legs, support arms, etc.

With Lim, a good point at which to begin connecting the components, as well as addressing component groups, was at the base. With Lim, for the highest structural non–pipe points there is discussion of the speed bags and basketball rims together with complementary figures. Also important are the primary ‘building blocks’ that contribute to novelty and improvement over previously existing analogous exercise devices. The Lim exercise device is constructed primarily of polyvinylchloride pipes of specific diameters and lengths. There are also numerous shaped polyvinylchloride adjustors for quick and easy assembly and disassembly by physically weak and convalescing individuals. The Lim speed bags and basketball rims are off the shelf items that are combined with the polyvinyl chloride parts in a novel combination of a lightweight portable device developed for strengthening specific muscles.

Part of the importance of Lim’s polyvinylchloride pipes and connectors is their light weight, strength and economical price. In many mechanical and electrical inventions, the materials properties will be at least as important as structural differences between the prior devices and the new device. Consequently, depending on the nature of improvement(s), the draft will provide considerable technical details on material strength, brittleness and hardness.
© 2011 Adrienne B. Naumann
Ms. Naumann does not endorse or sponsor the advertisements at


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