Reference format for writing a patent application

Writing a patent application involves citing literature, but the format used for patents involves the full citation of author, title, journal right in the flow of the text. Here is an example:

"A recent review of drug delivery to the eye by Novack Ophthalmic drug
delivery: development and regulatory considerations. Clin. Pharmacol. Therap. 85, 539-543, May, 2009 does not mention this mode of drug transfer."

There is an additional separate section in patent applications that lists the citations in the usual format as for journals. But the in-text citations are very different from journal citation formats.

Given that hundreds of thousands of patent applications are written every year, it would be extremely useful to have a Citation Style in Zotero that is suitable for writing a patent application. But regrettably, I am not able to find a US patent-office citation style.

Am I missing something?

  • It certainly feels useful. Please follow the guidelines in order to make it easier for the volunteers to create a new style:
  • PROBLEM PROBABLY SOLVED: Here is the answer I obtained from my patent lawyer:

    "There is no specific format or rule dictating how to cite references in a patent application. The only requirement is that since the application is to be directed to one of ordinary skill in the art, whatever format you use will need to be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art in question. For that reason you will see references cited in different ways by different people in different technologies and different areas of art.
    In general, any commonly used method to reference citations should be fine."

    So it is clear that when it comes to citing literature in a patent application, there is no specific way to do it, other than to write and cite in a way that would make your writing understandable "to one of ordinary skill in the art in question".

    However, because patent applications are usually written with many numeric references to things in the figures that clutter the text, it is probably best to reference peer-reviewed journal articles in the patent application's body text according to the Zotero referencing format known as "Chicago Manual of Style, (Author-Date)".

    If I run into any problems with this from the patent office, I will update this discussion item.
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