“A picture says it all.”
Well, Yes!! in case of patent drawings, this ancient proverb is certainly true. The best and the most appropriate way to cut short the time of understanding anything, is to represent it through images. In this case, we mean accurate and clearly labelled drawings within the patent application. USPTO doesn’t lay out any compulsion for including images. But, whenever they are necessary, they must be included to strengthen and enhance the patent applications. Let’s learn How and Why better drawings assures better patent application.
There are number of reasons that stand in favor of including patent drawings, such as:
- It brings clarity and precision to the examiner to understand the concept behind the invention in less time.
- It clarifies owner’s claims (if any) if in any case get mistakenly caught for patent infringement.
- It can also benefit patent holders while damage negotiation or settlement.
- It brings more sense and unambiguity to the application, making it less secured from potential infringers.
- It depicts the technical specifications and presents a blue-print of the invention on papers, helping the owner and the examiner to visualize the outcomes, in much better way.
- It even helps the patent owner to take professional help from a patent draftsperson, who can even pinpoint any issues with the invention (if any), that can be rectified by the owner before application submission.
Do you know: How to invest less in Patent Drawings?
Technical Specifications for Better Drawings
Better drawings can only be drawn if the draftsperson understands the specifications according to the preferences of the inventor. Ideally, the draftsperson has to meet the following technical specifications:
- Submission medium: Drawings are allowed to be submitted from paper to digital media, according to its shape and size specifications. There are a lot of specifications, such as the size, thickness, flexibility of sheets, etc. that all has to be followed.
- Drawing specifications: It meet be in the accordance with the territorial, USPTO (for U.S. filers), and the PCT (for international applications) rules. It must also follow specifications relating to the shades, color, letter size, paper size, shadow, thickness of line, etc. Drawings must also be clear, specific, unique, and well-explained.
- Mode of creation: The quality of the drawing depends upon the skill of the draftsperson. It is better and reliable to use CADD files, which save efforts of the draftsperson from creating images from the scratch. It is easier to use a software for creating drawings because you just needs to feed the specifications and drawings can be created using drag and drop, it can be modified, duplicated, and reused.
- Severity level: Drawings can be formal and informal in nature. Formal drawings are main drawings that depict the actual structure/working of the invention through all its labelling in black and white ink. While informal drawings are the ones which can even be avoided or does not bear equivalent importance within the patent application. Also, sometimes when formal images are converted into low-quality images, they are termed as informal images, since they lose integrity, quality and detail. When the patent office requests that the applicant submit formal drawings, often the only existing reference material is a low quality copy of the informal drawing.
- Special case for PCT applications: PCT specifically states that drawings must only be enclosed wherever necessary for the understanding of the invention. Drawings are required especially for mechanical and electrical inventions; whereas for inventions from chemical industry, there will be no benefit of representing chemicals through drawings.
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Better Drawings depends upon Patent Type
Drawings are not the same for all types of patent applications. They vary from utility to design patent applications.
- Drawing Specifications for Utility Patents: Utility patents have strict requirements, which must be arranged in the accurate measure ensuring that lines, numbers and letters are adequately dark, well-defined, and uniformly thick to ensure satisfactory reproduction characteristics. Plan or elevated views, perspective views, isometric projections, sectional views and exploded views can be used as well. The more complex and hard the invention to understand, the more will be the requirement to incorporate drawings for better understanding.
- Drawing Specifications for Design Patents: When it comes to design patents, drawings are basic and the must to be used. Drawings in design patents constitute the entire visual disclosure of the claim. The filers filing in accordance with the USPTO, requires all surfaces of drawings to be appropriately and adequately shaded. They do not include broken lines. While surface shading and broken lines are acceptable under the PCT. Sometimes when the design is difficult to be represented through line art, photographs have to be submitted instead. In cases where photographs are not allowed and an applicant is requested to supply regulation black-and-white drawings, the applicant will not be allowed to correct any inconsistencies in the drawings once they have been submitted, unless that can be done without adding new matter. Nothing can be removed or added when replacing figures.
Better Draftsperson for Better Drawings
Good drawings need a touch of a technical skilled and creative draftsperson. The more experienced and professional a draftsperson is, the better the drawings outcome will be. Things will be much better if the person holds proficiency in computer-aided design and drafting (CADD).
We at, The Patent Drawings Company, employs several draftspersons, providing a broad skill set as well as a variety of perspectives and approaches. We hold expertise through years of being an active part o in the IP industry.