One great tip I received as a younger patent attorney was to name components to express function. Our co-founding partner, Ron Smith was a master of drafting claims. His sister, an English professor used to “grade his papers” by reading his patent applications and bleeding (using a red pen) all over them. For example, the phrase “in order to” should not be used. Just say “to” because “in order” is redundant.

On a more substantive issue, it is good practice in mechanical or electrical cases to name components with a name that expresses their function. Thus, calling something a “member” or “an elongate member” or “a cylindrical member” should be avoided. For example, here’s a phrase that could be improved:

“a member extending between the two arm rests and behind the back, wherein the member stabilizes the back;”

If the member stabilizes the back, name it a stabilizer instead of a member. That makes the phrase more straightforward:

“a stabilizer extending between the two arm rests and behind the back for stabilizing the back;”

Or perhaps better yet:

“a back stabilizer extending between the two arm rests and behind the back;”

Notice how a function-descriptive name like “stabilizer” shortens the phrase and an even more function-descriptive name like “back stabilizer” shortens it even more. Using function-descriptive names also makes it easier to remember the various parts as the application is being written.

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Anton Hopen

U.S. Patent Attorney with smithhopen.com.