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Gerstein Science Information Centre


Recommended resources for research related to entrepreneurship, startups and commercialization: from science and technology literature to market research and patents.

Sections of a Patent

Note:The "specification" usually refers to the whole document including the claims

Cover Page

  • Prepared by patent office except for abstract, which inventor prepares


  •  Clear and concise written description of the invention and its usefulness, including drawings
  • Must be so clear and complete that it will enable anyone with average skill in the technology to make or use the invention
  • Contents: 
    •  Title of the invention  
    • Statement of patent history  
    • Field of the invention 
    • Background  
    • Summary of the invention in broad terms 
    • Drawings  
    • Brief description of the drawings  
    • Detailed description of the invention


  • Define boundaries of patent protection
  • Written statement of what the inventor asserts is his or her exclusive property
  • Information specified as protected by the claims cannot be used freely (copied, manufactured or sold) by others until the patent expires
  • Information not protected by the claims can be used immediately by anyone

Patents Dissected

International agreed Number for the Identification of Data (INID)

Beside each item on a patent cover sheet there is a number inside a square bracket. These numbers, the INID codes, are international standards that identify the type of element in a patent document for most countries in the world. Below are a select list of categories, for the complete list of the codes refer to  Appendix 1 in WIPO Standard ST.9.

[11] Patent Number

[12] Document Type

[21] Application Number

[22] Date of Patent Filing

[45] Date of Patent Publication/Issue

[51] International Patent Classification

[52] Domestic or National Classification

[54] Invention Title

[57] Abstract or Claim

[56] List of Prior Art Documents (aka References Cited)