35 U.S. Code § 112 - Specification

(a) In General.— The specification shall contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same, and shall set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor or joint inventor of carrying out the invention.
(b) Conclusion.— The specification shall conclude with one or more claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the inventor or a joint inventor regards as the invention.
(c) Form.— A claim may be written in independent or, if the nature of the case admits, in dependent or multiple dependent form.
(d) Reference in Dependent Forms.— Subject to subsection (e), a claim in dependent form shall contain a reference to a claim previously set forth and then specify a further limitation of the subject matter claimed. A claim in dependent form shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of the claim to which it refers.
(e) Reference in Multiple Dependent Form.— A claim in multiple dependent form shall contain a reference, in the alternative only, to more than one claim previously set forth and then specify a further limitation of the subject matter claimed. A multiple dependent claim shall not serve as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim. A multiple dependent claim shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of the particular claim in relation to which it is being considered.
(f) Element in Claim for a Combination.— An element in a claim for a combination may be expressed as a means or step for performing a specified function without the recital of structure, material, or acts in support thereof, and such claim shall be construed to cover the corresponding structure, material, or acts described in the specification and equivalents thereof.

Source

(July 19, 1952, ch. 950, 66 Stat. 798; Pub. L. 89–83, § 9,July 24, 1965, 79 Stat. 261; Pub. L. 94–131, § 7,Nov. 14, 1975, 89 Stat. 691; Pub. L. 112–29, § 4(c),Sept. 16, 2011, 125 Stat. 296.)
Historical and Revision Notes

Based on Title 35, U.S.C., 1946 ed., § 33 (R.S. 4888, amended (1) Mar. 3, 1915, ch. 94, § 1,38 Stat. 958; (2) May 23, 1930, ch. 312, § 2,46 Stat. 376).
The sentence relating to signature of the specification is omitted in view of the general requirement for a signature in section 111.
The last sentence is omitted for inclusion in the chapter relating to plant patents.
The clause relating to machines is omitted as unnecessary and the requirement for disclosing the best mode of carrying out the invention is stated as generally applicable to all types of invention (derived from Title 35, U.S.C., 1946 ed., § 69, first defense).
The clause relating to the claim is made a separate paragraph to emphasize the distinction between the description and the claim or definition, and the language is modified.
A new paragraph relating to functional claims is added.
Amendments

2011—Pub. L. 112–29designated first to sixth pars. as subsecs. (a) to (f), respectively, inserted headings, in subsec. (a), substituted “or joint inventor of carrying out the invention” for “of carrying out his invention”, in subsec. (b), substituted “inventor or a joint inventor regards as the invention” for “applicant regards as his invention”, and, in subsec. (d), substituted “Subject to subsection (e),” for “Subject to the following paragraph,”.
1975—Pub. L. 94–131substituted provision authorizing the writing of claims, if the nature of the case admits, in dependent or multiple dependent form for prior provision for writing claims in dependent form, required claims in dependent form to contain a reference to a claim previously set forth and then specify a further limitation of the subject matter claimed, substituted text respecting construction of a claim in dependent form so as to incorporate by reference all the limitations of the claim to which it refers for prior text for construction of a dependent claim to include all the limitations of the claim incorporated by reference into the dependent claim, and inserted paragraph respecting certain requirements for claims in multiple dependent form.
1965—Pub. L. 89–83permitted a claim to be written in independent or dependent form, and if in dependent form, required it to be construed to include all the limitations of the claim incorporated by reference into the dependent claim.
Effective Date of 2011 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 112–29effective upon the expiration of the 1-year period beginning on Sept. 16, 2011, and applicable to any patent application that is filed on or after that effective date, see section 4(e) ofPub. L. 112–29, set out as a note under section 111 of this title.
Effective Date of 1975 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 94–131effective Jan. 24, 1978, and applicable on and after that date to patent applications filed in the United States and to international applications, where applicable, see section 11 ofPub. L. 94–131, set out as an Effective Date note under section 351 of this title.
Effective Date of 1965 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 89–83effective three months after July 24, 1965, see section 7(a) ofPub. L. 89–83, set out as a note under section 41 of this title.

 

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