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Patent Illustration Rules: Must Know

Patent Illustration rules are the standards set by the USPTO for drawings, pictures, and diagrams present in the patent application. An illustration requires you to explain and outline the subject matter that associates with the patent. The illustrations are essential in almost all patent applications. Thus, to increase the chances of getting a patent grant, it’s important to follow patent illustration rules given by the USPTO. The illustrations don’t have to be works of art but describe and demonstrate the invention with a great deal of accuracy. 

Related article: How to create a quality patent illustration?

The Patent Illustration Rules: Key Points:

Good quality patent illustrations are very important for the correct disclosure of the invention. So, there are some of the general rules one needs to follow while creating a patent illustration. The patent illustration rules are as follows:

Colour drawings:

Utility patent and Design patent rarely accept color drawings. Also, they may be necessary as the only practical medium to disclose the subject matter. The color drawings must be of sufficient qualities such that all the details are reproducible in black and white printed format. Although, one cannot use color drawings in the PCT application.

Graphic Forms in drawings:

Tables, formulas of mathematics and waveforms are subject to the same rules as any other type of drawing. Formulas and waveforms also have specific requirements:

Formulas: One needs to label each formula as a separate figure and include brackets to show any necessary information.

Waveforms: The presentation of waveforms must be in a single figure that uses a vertical and a horizontal axis to showtime. Also, each individual waveform must have a letter designation adjacent to the vertical access for identification.

Tables: The tables in the illustration should be present in the sideways of the sheet. Also, the top of the table must be present on the left side of the sheet to make it look desirable.

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Views of the drawings:

It is one of the most important factors in the patent illustration rules. To show how the product looks and works, one needs to use several viewpoints in the drawing. If possible, one should use the following views of the invention:

  1. The standard six views which include front, back, right, left, top and bottom view.
  2. Perspective views with three dimensions.
  3. Only the front and back views of a flat object.
  4. Sectional views to show the function of the object.
  5. Exploded views to show how a single part works during the operation of the invention.

Shadingis another key part of the patent illustrations. It shows depth, contour and texture of the object. To do this, one can use dots, lines and distinctive patterns.

Margin Requirements:

Margin requirements are also an essential part of the patent illustration rules. The sheets must not contain frames around the usable surface of the object. But they should have a scan target point that means cross-hairs printed on two corner margins. Each sheet must include:

  • A top margin of at least 2.5 cm.
  • A left-side margin of at least 2.5 cm.
  • A right-side margin of at least 1.5 cm.
  • A bottom side margin of at least 1.0 cm.

Identification of the illustration:

The patent application must include Identification of the drawings. Hence, it should include the title of the invention, inventor’s name, and the application number. If the assigning of the application number has not taken place, one should use the docket number. Also, the placement of these to identify the illustration must be on the front of each sheet, centered within the top margin.

Other Considerations:

Even with all these rules, there are some general considerations that one should take into account while creating patent illustrations. These are as follows:

Copyright or Mask Work Notices:

You can place these notices in the illustration directly below the portion they pertain to. However, they must only be 1/8 inch by ¼ inch.

The numbering of sheets:

The numbering of the illustration must be in Arabic numerals in the middle of the top of the sheet. But it should not cover the margin. Numbers can move to the top-right if they interfere with the illustration.

The numbering of views:

 Views numbering must be independent of the sheet numbering. Partial views must also use Arabic numerals followed by a capital letter.

Security markings:

Security markings use is essential in the center of the top margin.


 All corrections that one submits with the patent illustration must be permanent and durable.

The character of Lines, Numbers, and Letters:

All illustrations are made by a process which will give them satisfactory reproductive characteristics. In short, every line, number, and letter must be durable, clean, uniformly thick and well-defined.        


Graphic illustrations use symbols for the conventional elements when appropriate. The elements for which one uses symbols must have an adequate identity in the specifications. Known devices should use symbols which have universal recognition and are generally accepted in the art.

Paper used in the illustration:

The paper must be white, flexible and strong. The USPTO allows only one-sided writing on the paper. One should use black ink on white paper. The paper size must be either 21 cm by 29.7 cm or 21.6 cm by 27.9 cm.

  • The illustration should be drawn on a non-crowded scale at 2/3 size. Indications like full scale or “1/2 scale” are not acceptable.

Related Article: Difference between Illustration and Drafting: For a Perfect Patent Application

Looking for Patent Illustration? – Patent Illustration Express

Patent Illustration plays a vital role in a patent application for displaying of the invention. If you are looking for any assistance regarding patent illustrations, Patent Illustration Express (PIE) will guide you with the illustration guidelines. PIE is a team of professional patent illustrators, who provide our clients with super-fast delivery of the illustration services. Our team creates illustrations that have 100% compliance with the patent illustration rules. Furthermore, PIE provides flexible output formats to our clients with full satisfaction guarantee. Also, we make sure to cover a descriptive invention for our clients through illustrations. For more information, Visit Patent Illustration Express.   

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