Patent drawing is an integral part of a patent application. It involves the use of various techniques for a clear representation of the invention, including the use of hatch patterns. If you do not use hatch patterns in adherence to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) guidelines, it can lead to patent drawing rejection. Hence, this article focuses on major patent drawing mistakes based on hatch patterns and explains how to resolve them.
Also Read: Customer Success Stories on Patent Drawings
Hatching and its Usage in Patent Drawings: Patent Drawing Rejection
Hatching technique aids in creating shading effects with the use of closely spaced parallel lines. Further, the use of hatching enables the examiner to understand an invention better.
Moreover, hatch patterns help in representing the type of materials used in an invention. Furthermore, you can also represent each color assigned to various materials by a different hatch pattern. Essentially, pattern recognition is based on colors. For some innovations, wherein we need to depict a photograph (greyscale), it’s necessary to use hatch patterns based on material. This is because, generally, patent offices do not allow the use of colored drawings.
Thus, according to the USPTO, based on the below-mentioned color symbols, we can use a particular hatch pattern on the product.
Drawing Errors That Can Result in Patent Rejection
Even though it is not mandatory to include drawings in a patent application, practitioners often choose to visually describe the invention to aid the examiner’s understanding. While patent drawings strengthen the application, any inconsistency or inaccuracy can result in a patent drawing rejection. Therefore, patents often face rejection due to the drawing errors mentioned below:
- Difference/inconsistencies between submitted claims and the drawing
- Poor line quality and uneven lines
- Incorrect or lack of hatching in a sectional view
- Design drawings with improper and poor shading
- Use of colored drawings and photographs
Overcoming Hatch Pattern-Based Patent Drawing Rejection
Objections Based on Graph Drawings
A patent office can issue objections related to graph drawings. For example, an office action (OA) was based on the graph drawing displayed in the first image. The OA stated that the background image shows the original graph paper and suggested that a different pattern can be used for circles represented on lines 510 and 520.
Further, this rejection was resolved as depicted in the second image. Moreover, the corrected image uses a white background and shows a different hatch pattern in circles to address the issue.
Objection on Cross-sectional View
To depict the reference, leader lines must always be used in between the hatch lines.
Further, UPSTO says, “hatching should not impede the clear reading of the reference characters and lead lines”.
Let’s understand this with the help of an example that highlights an objection received from the examiner on cross-sectional view. Here, the objection points out that the cross-sectional view of the invention is not described properly. For better understanding, refer to the office action clippings and the related images below (top and cross-sectional view).
According to the USPTO, one must use hatching to indicate the sectional portions of the object. Further, the pattern must remain oblique and parallel lines, sufficiently spaced apart to enable the lines. When necessary, blank spaces must be left on shaded and hatched areas for applying the numerals.
Furthermore, always make sure that the angle of hatching is at 45 degrees while representing the cross-section. While describing the different parts of the object, the element must be angled differently. Also, different types of hatching should have a different meaning based on the material used in the cross-section.
The corrected figure below provides the origin of the cross-sectional view and includes hatching on the cut sections to address the issues raised in the objection.
Objections Based on Numerals, Letter, Reference Characters
According to the USPTO guidelines, the numbers, letters, and reference characters should not be placed in the drawing and upon the hatched pattern. Moreover, you can underline the reference character and fill its background with white color.
For better understanding, refer to the two images below and observe the red mark-ups. Figure 1 shows numerals placed on the hatch patterns. Figure 2, the correct version, resolves the issues by making the background of the numeral white.
Objections Based on Reference/Leader Lines
For example, refer to the images below. In the first image, the reference/lead line for number 51 is touching the hatch pattern line. This may lead to an objection to patent drawing. Further, the second image shows the correct version, wherein the reference line/lead line is present in between the hatch pattern. This can help one to get rid of rejection.
Objections Based on Product Materials
You can use the cross-hatching symbol based on the material of the invention. For instance, refer to the cross-hatching symbol for plastic shown in figure (a) below. Now, refer to the figure (b). The way this figure depicts the cross-section view, the element of the portion marked as 112 may face rejection.
One can resolve this issue, related to depicting the plastic material, by using the USPTO material symbols. According to its guidelines, the green color symbol can be used for plastic material. Refer to figure (c), which shows 112 portions using the green color material symbol.
Thus, patent drawings are essential to a successful patent application. However, one must draft these drawings carefully so that the examiner can understand the invention better. So, in terms of using the hatch patterns in patent drawings, illustrators must avoid the above-mentioned errors. However, if mistakes still creep in, such errors can usually be fixed.
Sagacious IP’s patent drawing services offers businesses accurate and precise patent drawings. Moreover, our team of highly skilled draftsperson not only creates error-free drawings but also drafts them keeping in mind the guidelines of the patent and trademark office concerned.
– Kalyani V S (Illustration) and the Editorial Team