Patent claims

The patent claims are concisely and clearly formulated statements that explain what the invention consists of and the protection that is being claimed. It defines the invention in a legal sense.


There is a distinction made between independent and dependent patent claims.


Independent patent claims

Every patent application is comprised of at least one independent patent claim. This refers to all the features that a product or process must have in order to correspond to the invention. An independent patent claim is usually divided into:

  • the preamble comprising
    • a designation of the subject-matter of the invention
    • those features in common between the invention and the prior art
  • the characterising part with
    • those features that are essential to the solution to the problem.

The law only allows multiple independent claims in a patent when a common inventive idea can be recognised.


Dependent patent claims

Dependent claims specify additional features that are beyond the necessary essential features. They always refer to an independent claim and therefore automatically take on the essential features of the invention.


You can get an idea of how a patent specification is structured and formulated in our sample document. Or you can order a print copy of a patent specification and we will send it to you free of charge.


Related topics