Method to the Madness: Dissecting the U.S. Patent, Part 3

This article is our final discussion for the anatomy of the United States patent and application. Continuing with my client’s U.S. Pat. No. US 6,976,945 B1 (hereinafter Lim, the inventor) as an example, the sources to purchase or obtain exercise device components are specified in the Detailed Description. In this manner, a person of average skill in the physical therapy devices can easily locate these parts and assemble the device. Discussion of materials such as polyvinylchloride is also important, because materials’ properties more often than not contribute to improvement of the product over those previously existing.

One of Lim’s structural prototypes is designated as the preferred embodiment. The preferred embodiment is the prototype that the inventor believes to be the most convenient, useful, or economical among a series of related models. There can be more than one preferred embodiment in a single application. In our example, Lim also discloses additional structurally diverse yet related exercise device embodiments that are also described in technical detail. For example, there is a model with a wider basketball rim and flexible braided cords, while another model includes a removable framework reclining pad. Still another model includes a double vertical basketball rim.

The Detailed Description, as well as other sections of the patent, also includes the best mode. The best mode requires disclosure of the manner or device that the inventor considers the most advantageous for practicing the invention to be protected (i.e., claimed). For Lim the preferred embodiment together, with detailed directions for use and assembly thereof, satisfies the best mode requirement.

Closely related to the best mode and preferred embodiment is the requirement for an operative prototype in the “Detail Description,” and how this prototype functions in an intended useful manner. Lim fulfills this requirement with the preferred embodiment as described by related illustrations, text detailing each component in the drawings, and text explaining how these components physically interact for the intended functional result. In other mechanical and electrical inventions, the specific temperature, pressure and/or volume may be necessary, as well as materials properties as discussed above. If the invention is chemical in nature, then an example should disclose the necessary information for preparation and use of at least one compound.

The written description requirement is generally located in the Detailed Description, but it can also appear in other sections of the patent. The written description differs from enablement because enablement requires that information necessary to create and use the invention. In contrast, the written description requires sufficient technical information to support the scope of the invention to be protected. It must also contain sufficient information to convince a person skilled in the invention industry that the inventor had ‘fleshed out’ all the invention’s technical features at the time the patent application was filed.

For Lim, the written description is fulfilled by detailed drawings corresponding to the explanation in the Detailed Description and other written sections. Lim also contains mathematical dimensions and values necessary for a precise description of his prototypes. In fact, applied mathematical descriptors are extremely important and may result in the crucial tangible feature for a device with previously existing components.

© 2011 Adrienne B. Naumann
Ms. Naumann does not endorse or sponsor the advertisements at


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