To obtain a valid patent, a patent application must contain a full and clear description of the invention for which a patent is sought in the manner prescribed by 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph. The requirement for an adequate written description ensures that the public receives something in return for the exclusionary rights that are granted to the inventor by a patent. The grant of a patent helps to foster and enhance the development and disclosure of new ideas and the advancement of scientific knowledge. Upon the grant of a patent in the U.S., information contained in the patent becomes a part of the information available to the public for further research and development, subject only to the patentee’s right to exclude others during the life of the patent.
In exchange for the patent rights granted, 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, sets forth the minimum requirements for the quality and quantity of information that must be contained in a patent application to justify the grant of a patent. As discussed in more detail below, the patentee must disclose sufficient information to demonstrate that the inventor had possession of the invention at the time of filing and to enable those skilled in the art to make and use the invention. The applicant must not conceal from the public the best way of practicing the invention that was known to the patentee at the time of filing the patent application. Failure to fully comply with the disclosure requirements could result in the denial of a patent, or in a holding of invalidity of an issued patent.