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Which is the correct wording?

patent claims drafting

or

drafting patent claims

For example:

A: Drafting patent claims is a difficult task.
B: Patent claims drafting is a difficult task.

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"Patent claims drafting [...]", or - slightly better - "patent-claim drafting [...]" (hyphenated; singular) is grammatical, but not idiomatic. I'd argue for the latter, because you're treating "patent-claim" as an adjectival phrase applied to the gerund "drafting". There might even be an argument for "patent-claim-drafting". Consider the phrases "raising horses" and "horse-raising" for more insight as to why.

In general, you want "Drafting patent claims [...]" for sentences like your example. To a native speaker, it scans more naturally.

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  • Thank you for the response, Darael. In "raising horses" "raising" is the gerund functiong as the subject and "horses" is the object of the gerund. "horse-raising" is a noun. – Felicity Jul 4 '18 at 7:00
  • @Felicity just so. You can use an adjective-gerund phrase as a noun, as you see, even when the "adjective" is actually an adjectivalised noun, but it starts to feel unnatural for phrases of more than two words, and it's better then to choose the "gerund+object" construction. – Darael Jul 4 '18 at 7:04

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