National University of Science & Technology

"Think In Other Terms"

1.0    Introduction

To begin with, it is necessary to understand what constitutes an invention.
An invention is a technical solution to a problem in industry or agriculture, or a new technical means to alleviate living conditions.  Also, an innovation in a field of technology qualifies to be considered as an invention. Thus an invention can deal with a simple tool, or a method.  It can consist of a modification of a simple tool, such as a spade, or a modification of the method of conducting (for example) the electrolysis of water, or a modification of gearing systems, etc.

The discovery of a phenomenon or a material that is part of nature, but was previously unknown to society, does not qualify to be called an invention.  For example, the discovery of a new mineral is fundamentally different from the invention of a new mineral.  The invention of new mineral must mean the creation of a new mineral that, to the best of your knowledge, does not exist in nature.

2.0    Description of the invention

The invention must be described in full detail, clearly indicating the subject matter of protection. The text of the description should be such that it can enable the manufacturing of the product which is the subject matter of the invention. The Patent Application must consist of the following specifications:

  1. Title of the invention
  2. A description of the invention
  3. One or more claims
  4. Any drawings referred  to in the description
  5. An abstract.

The description of the invention should cascade through the following stages or paragraphs:

  • Specifies the technical field, e.g. “this invention concerns a transducer that is capable of detecting  cracks on the wall of a metal vessel”
  • Indicates a background to the art : All prior art that is useful for understanding the background to the application is provided
  • Discloses the invention : Clearly describes what you consider to be the “inventive step” introduced by your research. Further, describe how useful your invention is particularly for industry or for any target field that you have identified
  • Description of accompanying drawings :Items or parts in the drawings should be numbered and explained under the heading of ‘Description of the invention’
  • Sets forth the best mode :Here the inventor describes the best mode that any practitioner of the art can use to efficiently reproduce the invention.
  • Explains its industrial applicability :llustrates how the invention is used.

3.0     Title

The tile of an application is its name and identification
According to Guidelines summarized in WIPO ST.15:
- The title should be meaningful. It should clearly, concisely and as specifically as possible indicate the subject to which the invention relates;
- It should be evident from the title whether the invention concerns a product, a process, an apparatus etc.
- Ideally a title should not contain more than ten words.

Examples of appropriate titles for inventions:


  • Concerning  a Valve  -  Pilot operated mud-pulse valve
  • Concerning a  line spacer  -  Spacer damper for overheard power transmission line
  • Concerning a Cable connector -  Connecting device for co-axial cables


  • Ultrasonic apparatus for testing welds.

4.0    Claims
The claims are intended to define the subject matter for which the inventor is seeking protection. It is required that a claim must be clear, concise and supported by the description, see Section 2 above.  A claim is usually assisted by discussion of the technical features of an invention.  The technical features of an invention are best expressed in two parts.
First part: consists of a statement indicating those technical features of the invention that are relevant for designating the subject matter of the invention (prior art);
Second part: concisely describes the technical features that are characteristic of the invention e.g. “the invention is characterized by…………………………..”

There are two basic types of claims, namely product claims and process claims. The claim is the central issue, it is the justification, in your quest to obtain a Patent, it is based on novelty. You need to be absolutely convinced that you have introduced something new in the field of technology; you need to be sure that you have introduced an inventive step through your research endeavours.

Further, please take note that you cannot patent (say) an idea, no matter how new.  Albert Einstein would not have been allowed to patent his Theory of Relativity, for instance. You can only patent a product, an apparatus, or a process that leads to the manufacture of some product.

5.0    Drawings
A Description of the invention should be accompanied by drawings whenever appropriate, because they are easily understood by a practitioner of the art.  Flow sheets, chemical formulae and diagrams are considered as drawings.  Drawings should be in black ink and according to the normal practice in the given field of technology.

6.0    Abstract
Here are some guidelines of what an abstract should contain.  The abstract contains a concise summary of the disclosure as contained in the description, the claims and any drawings.  It must indicate the technical field to which the invention pertains.

Therefore an abstract should do the following things:

  • allow a clear understanding of the technical problem
  • indicate the principal use or uses of the invention
  • be clear and concise : preferably in the range of 50 to 150 words
  • if appropriate, contain chemical or mathematical formulae or tables
  • should be directed to what is new or inventive, i.e. highlight the inventive step
  • directly point to the technical disclosure of the modification
  • if it is a machine or apparatus, explain its organization or operation
  • if it is an article, explain its method of manufacture
  • if it is a chemical compound, dwell on its identity, preparation and use
  • if it is a mixture, reveal its ingredients and active principles
  • if it is a process, discuss the process steps and /or process conditions, with examples.
  • References:

1. F.De Laet, ‘Patents: From Protection through information to development,’ pp38,40,41to 44
2. Patents: Innovations & Inventions; Definition, Outlook & Structure ;Treaties and Conventions, WIPO Publication
Dr. E. G. Mtetwa

Director Technopark

Date:    17th September,2009