A patent application is filed with a set of claims. The patent applications with the claims are generally published 18 months after the filing date. Sometimes the claims are written much more broadly than is actually patentable. As the application is examined by a patent office and claim language negotiated, the claims may shrink or alter in scope. In contrast, the specification of a granted patent will usually be the same as when filed; new matter is not allowed to be added to the text after it is filed. Because the claims in an application are what the applicant hopes for and not what she has legal protection over, it is important to know whether you are looking at a granted patent or a patent application.