Patent Illustration Guidelines refer to the set of rules proclaimed by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). These guidelines especially assist the inclusion of illustrations in a Non-Provisional (utility) patent application. Illustrations provided within a utility patent refer to the drawings, photographs, computer program listings, tables, waveforms, chemical/ mathematical formulas, etc. Therefore, all these illustrations follow some specific requirements to deliver an effective patent application. This is when the USPTO guidelines ensure a defined way to get a utility patent application approved.
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Importance of Patent Illustration Guidelines
All the potentially skilled draftsmen formulate the utility and design patent illustration guidelines via specialized and advanced software technologies. These experts make sure that all illustrations follow the specific requirements as mentioned per the guidelines. This is because an applicant who fails to fulfill the guidelines might face the below-mentioned consequences.
- A utility patent application may remain incomplete if the illustrations do not comply with the USPTO guidelines.
- One might lose the benefit of an earlier filing date for his/her invention. This can be unfruitful in case the applicant possesses a wide range of competitors in the similar domain.
- Inability to obtain the desired patent will eventually lead to wastage of resources and money invested in applying.
On the other hand, an applicant might acquire the following advantages while following the illustration guidelines.
- Drafting illustrations as per the USPTO guidelines will help in producing a spick and span look.
- An applicant might get an idea for filing the application under which jurisdiction as the guidelines are different for different jurisdictions.
- Patent illustrations provide an elaborated understanding of the invention as per the claims mentioned in the utility patent. Therefore, the guidelines help in analyzing the extent of novelty an innovation possesses.
Hence, it becomes essentially important to consider the drawing requirements as per the conditions while constructing utility patent illustrations.
Also Read: A Detailed Insight on Patent Drawing Rules
Broad Guidelines to Ensure a Strong Patent Illustration
Provisional utility patent applications do not require the incorporation of patent illustrations. Whereas, Non-provisional utility patents provide powerful patent illustrations to bestow upon a broad comprehension of innovation. These illustrations may include Innovations including biological inventions, chemical processes and formulas, computer hardware and computer software, cosmetics, electrical hardware, etc. All these illustrations eventually form a part of either a utility or a design patent application. Hence, to file a well-built patent application, one must adhere to the below-mentioned patent illustration guidelines.
Use of Ink
You must prepare all the patent illustrations in black or white colour using India Ink.
You must consider colour drawings only during those occasions when the drawings justify the invention’s subject matter. Therefore, the applicant must file a USPTO petition to get access to coloured drawings.
According to patent illustration guidelines, a DIN size A-4 drawing sheet must include the following margins.
- A right margin of at least 1.5cm
- The bottom margin of at least 1 cm, and
- A top margin and a left margin of at least 2.5cm
Requirement of Numberings
You can use numbering separately on illustration sheets as well as on illustration views. While numbering the patent illustration sheets, it must occupy the middle of the top of the sheet and not the margin. Moreover, it must include Arabic numeral and must not associate with any brackets, quotation marks, or circles.
Further, the numbering of views plays a major role in carefully arranging the views. Although you must use consecutive Arabic numerals in order, it is preceded by the abbreviation ‘FIG.’. However, if an illustration contains a single view, the numbering must not contain any abbreviations.
Guidelines on Reference Characters
USPTO allows the use of reference characters to represent the description of a utility patent application. Further, you must use the reference characters (including numerals) present in the description of the utility patent drawings. You must not associate them with brackets or circles. Moreover, you must not place them in a way that interferes with the understanding of utility patent drawings. Additionally, you must not prefer using the same reference characters to represent different parts of a utility patent drawing and vice-versa.
Guidelines on Patent Illustration Views
Utility patent illustrations may constitute the views that show the detailed section of objects on a large scale. Further, you must place the views in an upright position, clearly separated from each other. Moreover, you must arrange the views together on a sheet without any wastage of space. There are various types of views you can include in patent illustrations.
- Sectional views: portray the interior structures of an object.
- Partial views: help in portraying the entire view of an object in various sections.
- Exploded views: this view portrays the explicit configuration of the object by disassembling all its components.
Furthermore, all the views in utility patent illustrations must follow an order of arrangement as mentioned below.
- All the views present on one sheet must be in one direction. Most preferably, all the views must stand in the same direction.
- You must not place any view over or within the outline of another view.
- When the views used are wider than the drawing sheet dimensions, you must orient the sheet in landscape mode. This shifts the top margin to the right side of the page.
- The examiner reads the words in left-to-right orientation except for graphs which have specific directions for abscissas and ordinates.
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