Brown & Michaels

How do I read a patent? 

This page, and those which follow, will help you in reading and understanding a US patent. You should know that the format of issued US patents has changed many times over the years, but the basic content has remained more or less the same. This guide will refer in detail to the most current printed patent format, but you can expect to find the same elements in older patents (if not necessarily in the same places). 

If you're not sure what a patent is, or if you have questions about basic patent principles, read our "Patent FAQ" page first - it has lots of information about patents and the patent process. 

Now that you've done that, let's look at a patent:

If you need help understanding "patentese", we have a patent glossary to help define the most commonly used words. 

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Last updated: Tue, 16 Feb 2021