Step 1) Invention Context

In step 1, we’re setting the scene for your innovation. This is more about the big picture rather than the technical specifics (we’ll cover those later).

Even if all the details don’t end up in the patent application, they’re really important for your patent attorney to figure out the optimum scope of protection.

Let’s aim for a concise overview – about one page should be perfect. Fill in the ((placeholders)) in the Word document by answering the following questions:

Business And Technology Roadmap

What’s your business roadmap? Describe a rough timeline of central milestones (e.g., funding rounds) and where your company stands right now. When are you planning to first reveal details to external parties like investors or development partners?

What’s your technology roadmap? Describe a rough timeline of technology readiness levels (e.g., idea, proof-of-concept, prototype, product v1.0) and where your technology stands right now. When are you planning to first involve test customers? When are you planning to start selling the product?


What is (or will be) the product your company is selling? Examples: A physical product, like a robot, a microscope, a smart home controller. A software product, like a downloadable program, an app, a DBMS. A service, like a SaaS, PaaS, …

Who are your company’s competitors? Describe them specifically. Name specific companies if possible.


Who are your customers? For each type of customer, describe the ideal customer avatar. Who is your product made for?

Which customer pain points is your product solving? This is not about the technical solution (e.g., an improved ML model for image denoising) but about the benefit the customer wants to have – and is willing to pay money for (e.g., better photos).

State Of The Art

How do the competitors address the customer pain points? Describe what they are doing, and how their solutions look like. Link to relevant websites, articles, or videos, if available.

Do you know any patents that look relevant to your innovation? Do a very brief keyword search in Espacenet if possible. Link to one or two relevant results. Briefly summarize the relevant content.

What are the shortcomings of the state of the art? Great patents tell a story. Describe why the existing solutions are worthy of improvement. What are the disadvantages of the state-of-the-art solutions? List as many drawbacks and limitations of these solutions as you can think of.