Patent Application Drafting 101: Graphics and Views in Drawings, Color Drawings and Photographs
Graphics and Views in Drawings, Color Drawings and Photographs
Graphic Forms in Drawings: Chemical or mathematical formulas, tables, computer program listings, and waveforms may be submitted as drawings and are subject to the same requirements as drawings. Each chemical or mathematical formula must be labeled as a separate figure, using brackets when necessary, to show that information is properly integrated. With regard to electrical signals, each group of waveforms must be presented as a single figure, using a common vertical axis with time extending along the horizontal axis. Each individual waveform discussed in the specification must be identified with a separate letter designation adjacent to the vertical axis. These may be placed in a landscape orientation if they cannot be presented satisfactorily in a portrait orientation. Characters used in such formulas and tables must meet the requirements set forth in 37 CFR §1.58(c).
Views: The drawing must contain as many views as necessary to show the invention. The views may be plan, elevation, section, or perspective views. Detailed views of portions of elements, on a larger scale if necessary, may also be used. All views of the drawing must be grouped together and arranged on the sheet(s) without wasting space, preferably in an upright position, clearly separated from one another, and must not be included in the sheets containing the specifications, claims, or abstract. Views must not be connected by projection lines and must not contain center lines. Waveforms of electrical signals may be connected by dashed lines to show the relative timing of the waveforms.
Exploded views: With the separated parts embraced by a bracket, to show the relationship or order of assembly of various parts are permissible. When an exploded view is shown in a figure which is on the same sheet as another figure, the exploded view should be placed in brackets.
Partial Views: When necessary, a view of a large machine or device in its entirety may be broken into partial views on a single sheet, or extended over several sheets if there is no loss in facility of understanding the view. Partial views drawn on separate sheets must always be capable of being linked edge to edge so that no partial view contains parts of another partial view. A smaller scale view should be included showing the whole formed by the partial views and indicating the positions of the parts shown. When a portion of a view is enlarged for magnification purposes, the view and the enlarged view must each be labeled as separate views.
Where views on two or more sheets form, in effect, a single complete view, the views on the several sheets must be so arranged that the complete figure can be assembled without concealing any part of any of the views appearing on the various sheets.
A very long view may be divided into several parts placed one above the other on a single sheet. However, the relationship between the different parts must be clear and unambiguous.
Sectional Views: The plane upon which a sectional view is taken should be indicated by a broken line on the view from which the section is cut. The ends of the broken line should be designated by Arabic or Roman numerals corresponding to the view number of the sectional view, and should have arrows to indicate the direction of sight. Hatching must be used to indicate section portions of an object, and must be made by regularly spaced oblique parallel lines spaced sufficiently apart to enable the lines to be distinguished without difficulty. Hatching should not impede the clear reading of the reference characters and lead lines. If it is not possible to place reference characters outside the hatched area, the hatching may be broken off wherever reference characters are inserted. Hatching must be at a substantial angle to the surrounding axes or principal lines, preferably 45 degrees.
A cross section must be set out and drawn to show all of the materials as they are shown in the view from which the cross section was taken. The parts in cross section must show proper material(s) by hatching with regularly spaced parallel oblique strokes; the space between strokes being chosen on the basis of the total area to be hatched. The various parts of a cross section of the same item should be hatched in the same manner and should accurately and graphically indicate the nature of the material(s) illustrated in cross section.
The hatching of juxtaposed different elements must be angled in a different way. In the case of large areas, hatching may be confined to an edging drawn around the entire inside of the outline of the area to be hatched. Different types of hatching should have different conventional meanings with regards to the nature of a material seen in cross section.
Alternate Position: A moved position may be shown by a broken line superimposed upon a suitable view if this can be done without crowding; otherwise, a separate view must be used for this purpose.
Modified Forms: Modified forms of construction must be shown in separate views.
Arrangement of Views: One view must not be placed upon another or within the outline of another. All views on the same sheet should stand in the same direction and, if possible, stand so that they can be read with the sheet held in an upright position. If views wider than the width of the sheet are necessary for the clearest illustration of the invention, the sheet may be turned on its side so that the top of the sheet is on the right-hand side, with the appropriate top margin used as the heading space. Words must appear in a horizontal, left-to-right fashion when the page is either upright or turned so that the top becomes the right side, except for graphs utilizing standard scientific convention to denote the axis of abscissas (of X) and the axis of ordinates (of Y).
Front Page View: One of the views should be suitable for inclusion on the front page of the patent application publication and patent as the illustration of the invention.
Color Drawings: Black and White Drawings are Normally Required. On rare occasions, color drawings may be necessary as the only practical medium by which the subject matter sought to be patented in a utility patent application is disclosed. The USPTO will accept color drawings in utility patent applications only after granting a petition explaining why the color drawings are necessary. Any such petition must include:
• the appropriate fee set forth in 37 CFR §1.17(h).
• three sets of color drawings, and
• the following language as the first paragraph in that portion of the specification relating to the Brief Description of the Several Views of the Drawing. If the language is not in the specification, an amendment to insert the language must accompany the petition
The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawings will be provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.
Photographs: Photographs are not ordinarily permitted in utility patent applications. The USPTO will accept black and white photographs in utility patent applications in applications in which the invention is not capable of being illustrated in an ink drawing or where the invention is shown more clearly in a photograph. For example, photographs or photomicrographs of electrophoresis gels, blots (e.g., immunological, western, southern, and northern), autoradiographs, cell cultures (stained and unstained), histological tissue cross sections (stained and unstained), animals, plants, in vivo imaging, thin layer chromatography plates, crystalline structures, and ornamental effects continue to be acceptable. Only one set of black and white photographs is required. Furthermore, no petition or additional processing fee is required.
Photographs have the same format requirements as other drawings. The photographs must be of sufficient quality so that all details in the drawing are reproducible in the printed patent or any patent application publication.
Color photographs will be accepted in utility patent applications if the conditions for accepting color drawings have been satisfied.