The Poetry of Patent Claims

Patent claim drafters are the poet laureates of intellectual property. Although claim drafters do not employ clever figures of speech or deftly rhyme phrases, their poetic art is the ability to describe highly technical corporeal objects using nothing more than cogent stanzas of language.

A master poet like Robert Frost is able to identify an unspoken emotion common to all human experience and bring readers to an instant realization of its ubiquity and interconnecting power. Similarly, a patent claim drafter must capture the salient features of a tangible, complex device using nothing more than combinations of words to describe and define the invention, and thereby bring readers to a unity of understanding as to its scope. This ability to describe material objects on behalf of inventors is a poetic art form all its own. And patent claims are themselves a form of poetry. They must for the sake of clarity adhere to certain “literary” forms of structure, syntax, rhythm, tone, and terminology. An excellent patent claim drafter is thus a veritable patent poet.

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