Written Description Requirement of Patentability
Anagha Tendulkar, Patent In-house counsel, Cipla, India
One of the requirements for an invention to be patentable is written description, which requires that the invention be described in sufficient detail for one of ordinary skill in the art to reasonably conclude that the inventor had possession of the claimed invention.
“The specification shall contain a written description of the invention, …. ” 35 U. S. C. § 112(a). To support a claim, the specification of the patent must describe the claimed subject matter in a way and from the perspective of a person skilled in the art, such that he would understand the metes and bounds of the invention. Without such description, it may be hard for one to understand the exact coordinates of the invention. Such a disclosure would also enable the development of the treasure of knowledge, allowing the future innovators to contribute over what has already been disclosed. The written description requirement also entails that the inventor actually invented the invention and was in possession of it, at the time of filing of the application. A mere wish or a plan for future is not enough.
This paper focuses on the niche of the written description required under § 112(a), which is one of the basic principles upon which the “quid pro quo” of the patent grant system is based. This paper examines the nuances of the requirement that guide the compliance. The paper also examines recent case law on this aspect of patentability and evaluates how the Courts have addressed the legal requirement in recent times.
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