Format of a Patent Application

A patent application comprises of a completed application form entitled "Request for the Grant of a Patent" which is set out in Schedule II of the Patents (Amendment) Rules 2009 (Form No.1) and a specification. The online patent e-filing system incorporates Form No. 1.

For applicants who wish to file a patent application directly with the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland by post, the Patent Application Guide provides guidance on how to complete a patent application, including how to complete a paper Patent Application Form No. 1, draft specifications, claims, drawings and abstracts.

Patent law and practice, and the drafting of the specification, describing an invention, are complex matters, for which the help of a patent agent is very advisable, unless the applicant has had specialised training in this field. 

The Specification
The specification should be in conformity with the requirements of the Patents Act 1992 and Patents Rules 1992, typed or printed on single sided A4 pages with margins of 2 to 3 centimeters. These margins should be blank, and each page should be numbered. Two copies of the specification must be submitted.

The specification provides the technical information about the invention, and provides its legal definition. It has four components, presented in the order in which they should occur in an application:

  • The title,
  • A description of the invention,
  • Claims, and
  • Drawings, if relevant to the application.

The Title
This comes first in the specification. It should be brief, but must clearly indicate the matter to which the invention relates. The same title should appear both on the specification and the request for grant form.

The Description
The description immediately follows the title. It is a detailed explanation of the invention. It should include all relevant information. It must be sufficiently clear and complete to be understood by others; such as to allow a person reasonably skilled in the same art to be able to fully replicate the invention without needing further details.

The description should set out the background of the invention and also explain any particular problem that the invention solves, and what it does.

Please note in particular that additional information cannot be added or the description broadened after you have filed the application.

A filing date cannot be secured in the absence of a description of the invention which is the subject of the request for grant of a patent.

The Claims
The claims, which follow the description, define the scope of the invention and the legal protection conferred by the patent when granted.

The claims must define the matter for which protection is sought in terms of its technical features. They must be clear and concise and be supported by the description.

There are two kinds of claim, independent and dependent. An independent claim defines an embodiment of an invention, comprising all its essential features. Dependent claims define further embodiments further characterised by desirable, but non-essential, features or components. These claims are dependent on the independent claim that gives the basic invention.

Claims must not speculate on the perceived advantages of the invention, but should restrict themselves to embodiments and technical features. The advantages of the invention may be outlined in the description.

The specification may contain independent claims in different categories, e.g., for each of a product, the process for making that product, and specially adapted apparatus used in that process. However, all the independent claims must relate to the same basic inventive concept to ensure unity of invention.

If there are several claims, they should be numbered consecutively.

If the claims are not filed with the application, they must be filed within 12 months of the filing date or if priority has been claimed within 12 months of the priority date.

The Drawings
The Drawings are not obligatory. However, a good drawing (or set of drawings) is often of great value in clarifying the nature of an invention. Therefore, drawings may accompany the specification. Where they do they must be mentioned in the text of the description. They must be clear and legible with no extraneous text. Drawings should be filed at the same time as the rest of the specification. Late filing of drawings has implications for the filing date of the application. Please note chemical formulae are normally included within the description.

The Abstract
In addition to the specification, an applicant must also supply an abstract. This is a concise summary of the invention. The abstract should be typed on a separate sheet of A4 paper and must begin with the title of the invention that appears in the specification and the request for grant. It should include the essential features of the invention and should ideally be no longer than 150 words.

The abstract, like the claims, must be filed within 12 months of the application filing date (or priority date where claimed) if it has not been filed with the application. Abstracts are not part of the specification, and are not used to interpret the scope of protection sought. Rather, they provide a technical summary of the invention for archiving and retrieval purposes, thus assisting third parties in deciding whether the application as a whole might be of interest.

Sample Specifications
·         Sample of Agricultural Specification(PDF 0.94 MB)
·         Sample of Chemical Specification (PDF 1.79 MB)
·         Sample of Engineering Specification (PDF 1.64 MB)
·         Sample of Telecommunications Specification (PDF 1.45 MB)

Minimum Requirements for a Filing Date
It is possible to secure a filing date without a fully completed patent application, as long as each of the following is submitted: 

1.  An indication that a patent is sought
2.  Information identifying the applicant
3.  A description of the invention

The requirements at 1, 2, and 3 above can be satisfied by completing Form No.1 and by sending it by post to: 

The Intellectual Property Office of Ireland
Government Offices
Hebron road
R95 H4XC

Applications by FAX are not accepted.