of a Design
of Designs and Modified Forms
Between Design and Utility Patents
Subject Matter for Design Patents
of a Design Patent Application
or Black & White Photographs
Drawings or Photographs
Shading and Drafting Symbols
Design Patent Application Process
Laws That Apply to Design Patent Applications
for Drawings in a Design Patent Application
Definition of a
A design consists of
the visual ornamental characteristics embodied in, or applied to, an
article of manufacture. Since a design is manifested in appearance, the
subject matter of a design patent application may relate to the
configuration or shape of an article, to the surface ornamentation applied
to an article, or to the combination of configuration and surface
ornamentation. A design for surface ornamentation is inseparable from the
article to which it is applied and cannot exist alone. It must be a
definite pattern of surface ornamentation, applied to an article of
In discharging its patent-related duties, the United States Patent
and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) examines applications and grants
patents on inventions when applicants are entitled to them. The patent law
provides for the granting of design patents to any person who has invented
any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. A
design patent protects only the appearance of the article and not structural
or utilitarian features. The principal statutes (United States Code)
governing design patents are:
The rules (Code of Federal Regulations) pertaining to the drawing
disclosure of a design patent application are:
CFR § 1.84
CFR § 1.152
CFR § 1.121
The practice and
procedures relating to design applications are set forth in chapter 1500 of
the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP).
Back to the Top
of Designs and Modified Forms
An ornamental design
may be embodied in an entire article or only a portion of an article, or
may be ornamentation applied to an article. If a design is directed to just
surface ornamentation, it must be shown applied to an article in the
drawings, and the article must be shown in broken lines, as it forms no
part of the claimed design.
A design patent application
may only have a single claim (37 CFR § 1.153). Designs that are independent
and distinct must be filed in separate applications since they cannot be
supported by a single claim. Designs are independent if there is no
apparent relationship between two or more articles. For example, a pair of
eyeglasses and a door handle are independent articles and must be claimed
in separate applications. Designs are considered distinct if they have
different shapes and appearances even though they are related articles. For
example, two vases having different surface ornamentation creating distinct
appearances must be claimed in separate applications. However, modified
forms, or embodiments of a single design concept may be filed in one
application. For example, vases with only minimal configuration differences
may be considered a single design concept and both embodiments may be
included in a single application. An example of modified forms appears at
the bottom of Page 16.
Back to the Top
Difference Between Design and Utility Patents
In general terms, a
“utility patent” protects the way an article is used and works (35 U.S.C.
101), while a "design patent" protects the way an article looks
(35 U.S.C. 171). Both design and utility patents may be obtained on an
article if invention resides both in its utility and ornamental appearance.
While utility and design patents afford legally separate protection, the
utility and ornamentality of an article are not easily separable. Articles
of manufacture may possess both functional and ornamental characteristics.
Back to the Top
Subject Matter for Design Patents
A design for an
article of manufacture that is dictated primarily by the function of the
article lacks ornamentality and is not proper statutory subject matter
under 35 U.S.C. 171. Specifically, if at the time the design was created,
there was no unique or distinctive shape or appearance to the article not
dictated by the function that it performs, the design lacks ornamentality
and is not proper subject matter. In addition, 35 U.S.C. 171 requires that
a design to be patentable must be “original.” Clearly a design that
simulates a well-known or naturally occurring object or person is not
original as required by the statute. Furthermore, subject matter that could
be considered offensive to any race, religion, sex, ethnic group, or
nationality is not proper subject matter for a design patent application
(35 U.S.C. 171 and 37 CFR § 1.3).
Back to the Top
Organizations (IDO) are private and public consulting and marketing
businesses that exist to help inventors bring their inventions to market, or
to otherwise profit from their ideas. While many of these organizations are
legitimate, some are not. Be wary of any IDO that is willing to promote
your invention or product without making a detailed inquiry into the merits
of your idea and giving you a full range of options which may or may not
include the pursuit of patent protection. Some IDOs will automatically
recommend that you pursue patent protection for your idea with little
regard for the value of any patent that may ultimately issue. For example,
an IDO may recommend that you add ornamentation to your product in order to
render it eligible for a design patent, but not really explain to you the
purpose or effect of such a change. Because design patents protect only the
appearance of an article of manufacture, it is possible that minimal
differences between similar designs can render each patentable. Therefore,
even though you may ultimately receive a design patent for your product,
the protection afforded by such a patent may be somewhat limited. Finally,
you should also be aware of the broad distinction between utility and
design patents, and realize that a design patent may not give you the
Back to the Top
of a Design Patent Application
The elements of a
design patent application should include the following:
(1) Preamble, stating
name of the applicant, title of the design, and a brief description of the
nature and intended use of the article in which the design is embodied;
(2) Description of
the figure(s) of the drawing;
(4) A single claim;
(5) Drawings or
(6) Executed oath or
In addition, the
filing fee set forth in 37 CFR §1.16(f) is also required. If applicant is a
small entity, (an independent inventor, a small business concern, or a
non-profit organization), the filing fee is reduced by half.
Back to the Top
The Preamble, if
included, should state the name of the applicant, the title of the design,
and a brief description of the nature and intended use of the article in
which the design is embodied. All information contained in the preamble
will be printed on the patent, should the claimed design be deemed patentable.
Back to the Top
The Title of the
design must identify the article in which the design is embodied by the
name generally known and used by the public. Marketing designations are
improper as titles and should not be used. A title descriptive of the
actual article aids the examiner in developing a complete field of search
of the prior art. It further aids in the proper assignment of new
applications to the appropriate class, subclass, and patent examiner, as well
as the proper classification of the patent upon allowance of the
application. It also helps the public in understanding the nature and use
of the article embodying the design after the patent has been published.
Thus, applicants are encouraged to provide a specific and descriptive
Back to the Top
Descriptions indicate what each view of the drawings represents, i.e.,
front elevation, top plan, perspective view, etc.
Any description of
the design in the specification, other than a brief description of the
drawing, is generally not necessary since, as a general rule, the drawing
is the design's best description. However, while not required, a special
description is not prohibited.
In addition to the
figure descriptions, the following types of statements are permissible in
1. A description of
the appearance of portions of the claimed design which are not illustrated
in the drawing disclosure (i.e., “the right side elevational view is a
mirror image of the left side”).
disclaiming portions of the article not shown, that form no part of the
indicating that any broken line illustration of environmental structure in
the drawing is not part of the design sought to be patented.
denoting the nature and environmental use of the claimed design, if not
included in the preamble.
Back to the Top
A design patent
application may only include a single claim. The claim defines the design
which applicant wishes to patent, in terms of the article in which it is
embodied or applied. The claim must be in formal terms to “The ornamental
design for (the article which embodies the design or to which it is
applied) as shown.” The description of the article in the claim should be
consistent in terminology with the title of the invention.
When there is a
properly included special description of the design in the specification,
or a proper showing of modified forms of the design, or other descriptive
matter has been included in the specification, the words “and described”
should be added to the claim following the term “shown.” The claim should
then read “The ornamental design for (the article which embodies the design
or to which it is applied) as shown and described.”
Back to the Top
or Black and White Photographs
disclosure is the most important element of the application. Every design
patent application must include either a drawing or a black and white
photograph of the claimed design. As the drawing or photograph constitutes
the entire visual disclosure of the claim, it is of utmost importance that
the drawing or photograph be clear and complete, that nothing regarding the
design sought to be patented is left to conjecture. The design drawing or
photograph must comply with the disclosure requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112,
first paragraph. To meet the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112, the drawings or
photographs must include a sufficient number of views to constitute a
complete disclosure of the appearance of the design claimed.
Drawings are normally
required to be in black ink on white paper. Black and white photographs, in
lieu of drawings, are permitted subject to the requirements of 37 CFR
§1.84(b)(1) and §1.152. Applicant should refer to these rules, included at
the end of this guide. These rules set forth in detail the requirements for
proper drawings in a design patent application.
Black and white
photographs submitted on double weight photographic paper must have the
drawing figure number entered on the face of the photograph. Photographs
mounted on Bristol board may have the figure number shown in black ink on the
Bristol board, proximate the corresponding photograph.
Black and white
photographs and ink drawings must not be combined in a formal submission of
the visual disclosure of the claimed design in one application. The
introduction of both photographs and ink drawings in a design application
would result in a high probability of inconsistencies between corresponding
elements on the ink drawings as compared with the photographs. Photographs
submitted in lieu of ink drawings must not disclose environmental structure
but must be limited to the claimed design itself.
Back to the Top
Drawings or Color Photographs
The Office will
accept color drawings or photographs in design patent applications only
after the granting of a petition filed under 37 CFR §1.84(a)(2), explaining
why the color drawings or photographs are necessary. Any such petition must
include the fee set forth in 37 CFR § 1.17(h), three sets of color drawings
or photographs, a black and white photocopy that accurately depicts the
subject matter shown in the color drawings or photographs, and the
specification must contain the following language before the description of
The file of this
patent contains a least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this
patent with color drawings will be provided by the United States Patent and
Trademark Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.
If color photographs
are submitted as informal drawings and the applicant does not consider the
color to be part of the claimed design, a disclaimer should be added to the
specification as follows: “The color shown on the claimed design forms no
part thereof.” Color will be considered an integral part of the disclosed
and claimed design in the absence of a disclaimer filed with the original
application. A disclaimer may only be used when filing color photographs as
informal drawings, as 37 CFR §1.152 requires that the disclosure in formal
photographs be limited to the design for the article claimed.
Back to the Top
The drawings or
photographs should contain a sufficient number of views to completely
disclose the appearance of the claimed design, i.e., front, rear, right and
left sides, top and bottom. While not required, it is suggested that
perspective views be submitted to clearly show the appearance and shape of
three-dimensional designs. If a perspective view is submitted, the surfaces
shown would normally not be required to be illustrated in other views if these
surfaces are clearly understood and fully disclosed in the perspective.
Views that are merely
duplicates of other views of the design or that are merely flat and include
no ornamentality may be omitted from the drawing if the specification makes
this explicitly clear. For example, if the left and right sides of a design
are identical or a mirror image, a view should be provided of one side and
a statement made in the drawing description that the other side is
identical or a mirror image. If the bottom of the design is flat, a view of
the bottom may be omitted if the figure descriptions include a statement
that the bottom is flat and unornamented. The term "unornamented"
should not be used to describe visible surfaces that include structure that
is clearly not flat. In some cases, the claim may be directed to an entire
article, but because all sides of the article may not be visible during
normal use, it is not necessary to disclose them. A sectional view which
more clearly brings out elements of the design is permissible, however a
sectional view presented to show functional features, or interior structure
not forming part of the claimed design, is neither required nor permitted.
Back to the Top
The drawing should be
provided with appropriate surface shading which shows clearly the character
and contour of all surfaces of any three-dimensional aspects of the design.
Surface shading is also necessary to distinguish between any open and solid
areas of the design. Solid black surface shading is not permitted except
when used to represent the color black as well as color contrast. Lack of
appropriate surface shading in the drawing as filed may render the shape
and contour of the design nonenabling under 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph.
Additionally, if the shape of the design is not evident from the disclosure
as filed, addition of surface shading after filing may be viewed as new
matter. New matter is anything that is added to, or from, the claim,
drawings or specification, that was neither shown nor suggested in the
original application (see 35 U.S.C. 132 and 37 CFR § 1.121, at the end of
Back to the Top
A broken line
disclosure is understood to be for illustrative purposes only and forms no
part of the claimed design. Structure that is not part of the claimed
design, but is considered necessary to show the environment in which the
design is used, may be represented in the drawing by broken lines. This
includes any portion of an article in which the design is embodied or
applied to that is not considered part of the claimed design. When the
claim is directed to just surface ornamentation for an article, the article
in which it is embodied must be shown in broken lines.
In general, when
broken lines are used, they should not intrude upon or cross the showing of
the claimed design and should not be of heavier weight than the lines used
in depicting the claimed design. Where a broken line showing of
environmental structure must necessarily cross or intrude upon the
representation of the claimed design and obscures a clear understanding of
the design, such an illustration should be included as a separate figure in
addition to the other figures which fully disclose the subject matter of
Back to the Top
The Design Patent Application Process
preparation of a design patent application and the conducting
of the proceedings in the USPTO to obtain the patent is
an undertaking requiring the knowledge of patent law and
rules and Patent and Trademark Office practice and procedures.
attorney or agent specially trained in this field
is best able to secure the greatest patent protection
to which applicant is entitled. It would be prudent to
seek the services of a registered patent
attorney or agent. Representation, however, is not
required. A knowledgeable applicant may successfully prosecute
his or her own application. However, while persons not
skilled in this work may obtain a patent in many cases,
there is no assurance that the patent obtained would adequately
protect the particular design.
“examination” entails checking for compliance with formalities, ensuring
completeness of the drawing disclosure and a comparison of the claimed
subject matter with the “prior art.” “Prior art” consists of issued patents
and published materials. If the claimed subject matter is found to be
patentable, the application will be “allowed,” and instructions will be provided
to applicant for completing the process to permit issuance as a patent.
The examiner may
reject the claim in the application if the disclosure cannot be understood
or is incomplete, or if a reference or combination of references found in
the prior art, shows the claimed design to be unpatentable. The examiner
will then issue an Office action detailing the rejection and addressing the
substantive matters which effect patentability.
This Office action
may also contain suggestions by the examiner for amendments to the
application. Applicant should keep this Office action for his or her files,
and not send it back to the Office.
If, after receiving
an Office action, applicant elects to continue prosecution of the
application, a timely reply to the action must be submitted. This reply
should include a request for reconsideration or further examination of the
claim, along with any amendments desired by the applicant, and must be in
writing. The reply must distinctly and specifically point out the supposed
errors in the Office action and must address every objection and/or
rejection in the action. If the examiner has rejected the claim over prior
art, a general statement by the applicant that the claim is patentable,
without specifically pointing out how the design is patentable over the
prior art, does not comply with the rules.
In all cases where
the examiner has said that a reply to a requirement is necessary, or where
the examiner has indicated patentable subject matter, the reply must comply
with the requirements set forth by the examiner, or specifically argue each
requirement as to why compliance should not be required.
Back to the Top
The two types of
shading commonly employed in design patent application drawings are
straight-line surface shading and stippling. Individually or in
combination, they can effectively represent the character and contour of
Straight-line Surface Shading
Straight Line Shading and Stippling
Note that both
stippling and straight-line surface shading, while permissible on the same
object to show surface contrast, should not be used together on the same
Note that elements
visible behind transparent surfaces should be shown in light, full lines,
not broken lines.
Broken lines may be
used to show environment and boundaries that form no part of the claimed
An exploded view is
only supplementary to a fully assembled view. A bracket must be employed to
show the association of elements.
Set of Game
Components- Fully Assembled View
positions of a design, or an element of the design, must be shown in
Note the use of a
separation and a bracket to indicate that, for ease of illustration, the
precise length of the molding is not claimed.
Cross-sections may be
employed to clarify the disclosure and to minimize the number of views.
of a single concept may be filed in one design application, so long as
their appearance and shape are similar, as shown below.
Graphical symbols for
conventional elements may be used on the drawing when appropriate, subject
to approval by the Office. The symbols that follow have been approved for
such use. This collection does not purport to be exhaustive; other standard
and commonly used symbols will also be acceptable provided they are clearly
understood, are adequately identified in the specification as filed, and do
not create confusion with other symbols used in patent drawings.
NOTES: In general, in
lieu of a symbol, a conventional element, combination or circuit may be
shown by an appropriately labeled rectangle, square or circle;
abbreviations should not be used unless their meaning is evident and not
confusing with the abbreviations used in the suggested symbols.
Back to the Top
Laws That Apply to Design Patent Applications
35 U.S.C. 102
Conditions for patentability; novelty and loss of right to patent
A person shall be
entitled to a patent unless -
(a) the invention was
known or used by others in this country, or patented or described in a
printed publication in this or a foreign country, before the invention
thereof by the applicant for patent, or
(b) the invention was
patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country
or in public use or on sale in this country, more than one year prior to
the date of the application for patent in the United States,
(c) he has abandoned
(d) the invention was
first patented or caused to be patented, or was the subject of an
inventor's certificate, by the applicant or his legal representatives or
assigns in a foreign country prior to the date of the application for
patent in this country on an application for patent or inventor's
certificate filed more than twelve months before the filing of the
application in the United States,
(e) the invention was
(1)an application for
patent, published under section 122(b), by another filed in the United
States before the invention by the applicant for patent, except that an
international application filed under the treaty defined in section 351(a)
shall have the effect under this subsection of a national application
published under section 122(b) only if the international application
designating the United States was published under Article 21(2)(a) of such
treaty in the English language; or
(2)a patent granted
on an application for patent by another filed in the United States before
the invention by the applicant for patent, except that a patent shall not
be deemed filed in the United States for the purposes of this subsection
based on the filing of an international application filed under the treaty
defined in section 351(a);
(f) he did not
himself invent the subject matter sought to be patented,
(g) (1) during the
course of an interference conducted under section 135 or section 291,
another inventor involved therein establishes, to the extent permitted in
section 104, that before such person's invention thereof the invention was
made by such other inventor and not abandoned, suppressed, or concealed, or
(2) before such person's invention thereof, the invention was made in this
country by another inventor who had not abandoned, suppressed, or concealed
it. In determining priority of invention under this subsection, there shall
be considered not only the respective dates of conception and reduction to
practice of the invention, but also the reasonable diligence of one who was
first to conceive and last to reduce to practice, from a time prior to
conception by the other.
35 U.S.C. 103
Conditions for patentability; non-obvious subject matter
(a) A patent may not
be obtained though the invention is not identically disclosed or described
as set forth in section 102 of this title, if the differences between the
subject matter sought to be patented and the prior art are such that the
subject matter as a whole would have been obvious at the time the invention
was made to a person having ordinary skill in the art to which said subject
matter pertains. Patentability shall not be negatived by the manner in
which the invention was made.
Notwithstanding subsection (a), and upon timely election by the applicant
for patent to proceed under this subsection, a biotechnological process
using or resulting in a composition of matter that is novel under section
102 and nonobvious under subsection (a) of this section shall be considered
(A) claims to the
process and the composition of matter are contained in either the same
application for patent or in separate applications having the same
effective filing date;
(B) the composition
of matter, and the process at the time it was invented, were owned by the
same person or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person.
(2) A patent issued
on a process under paragraph (1)-
(A) shall also
contain the claims to the composition of matter used in or made by that
(B) shall, if such
composition of matter is claimed in another patent, be set to expire on the
same date as such other patent, notwithstanding section 154.
(3) For purposes of
paragraph (1), the term “biotechnological process” means-
(A) a process of
genetically altering or otherwise inducing a single- or multi-celled
(i) express an exogenous
eliminate, augment, or alter expression of an endogenous nucleotide
(iii) express a
specific physiological characteristic not naturally associated with said
(B) cell fusion
procedures yielding a cell line that expresses a specific protein, such as
a monoclonal antibody;
(C) a method of using
a product produced by a process defined by subparagraph (A) or (B), or a
combination of subparagraphs (A) and (B).
(c) Subject matter
developed by another person, which qualifies as prior art only under one or
more of subsections (e), (f), and (g) of section 102 of this title, shall
not preclude patentability under this section where the subject matter and
the claimed invention were, at the time the invention was made, owned by
the same person or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same
35 U.S.C. 112
shall contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and
process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact
terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or
with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same, and shall
set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out his
shall conclude with one or more claims particularly pointing out and
distinctly claiming the subject matter, which the applicant regards as his
A claim may be
written in independent or, if the nature of the case admits, in dependent
or multiple dependent form.
Subject to the
following paragraph, a claim in dependent form shall contain a reference to
a claim previously set forth and then specify a further limitation of the
subject matter claimed. A claim in dependent form shall be construed to
incorporate by reference all the limitations of the claim to which it
A claim in multiple
dependent form shall contain a reference, in the alternative only, to more
than one claim previously set forth and then specify a further limitation
of the subject matter claimed. A multiple dependent claim shall not serve
as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim. A multiple dependent
claim shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of
the particular claim in relation to which it is being considered.
An element in a claim
for a combination may be expressed as a means or step for performing a
specified function without the recital of structure, material, or acts in
support thereof, and such claim shall be construed to cover the
corresponding structure, material, or acts described in the specification
and equivalents thereof.
35 U.S.C. 132 Notice
of rejection; reexamination
(a) Whenever, on
examination, any claim for a patent is rejected, or any objection or
requirement made, the Director shall notify the applicant thereof, stating
the reasons for such rejection, or objection or requirement, together with
such information and references as may be useful in judging of the
propriety of continuing the prosecution of his application; and if after
receiving such notice, the applicant persists in his claim for a patent,
with or without amendment, the application shall be reexamined. No
amendment shall introduce new matter into the disclosure of the invention.
(b) The Director
shall prescribe regulations to provide for the continued examination of
applications for patent at the request of the applicant. The Director may
establish appropriate fees for such continued examination and shall provide
a 50 percent reduction in such fees for small entities that qualify for
reduced fees under section 41(h)(1) of this title.
35 U.S.C. 171 Patents
Whoever invents any
new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture may obtain
a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this
The provisions of
this title relating to patents for inventions shall apply to patents for
designs, except as otherwise provided.
35 U.S.C. 172 Right
The right of priority
provided for by subsections (a) through (d) of section 119 of this title
and the time specified in section 102(d) shall be six months in the case of
designs. The right of priority provided for by section 119(e) of this title
shall not apply to designs.
35 U.S.C. 173 Term of
Patents for designs
shall be granted for the term of fourteen years from the date of grant.
Back to the Top
for Drawings in Design Patent Applications
(a) Drawings. There
are two acceptable categories for presenting drawings in utility and design
(1) Black ink. Black
and white drawings are normally required. India ink, or its equivalent that
secures solid black lines, must be used for drawings;
(2) Color. On rare occasions, color
drawings may be necessary as the only practical medium by which to disclose
the subject matter sought to be patented in a utility or design patent
application or the subject matter of a statutory invention registration.
The color drawings must be of sufficient quality such that all details in
the drawings are reproducible in black and white in the printed patent.
Color drawings are not permitted in international applications (see PCT
Rule 11.13), or in an application, or copy thereof, submitted under the
Office electronic filing system. The Office will accept color drawings in
utility or design patent applications and statutory invention registrations
only after granting a petition filed under this paragraph explaining why
the color drawings are necessary. Any such petition must include the
(i) The fee set forth
in § 1.17(h);
(ii) Three (3) sets
of color drawings;
(iii) A black and
white photocopy that accurately depicts, to the extent possible, the
subject matter shown in the color drawing;
(iv) An amendment to
the specification to insert (unless the specification contains or has been
previously amended to contain) the following language as the first
paragraph of the brief description of the drawings:
The patent or
application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of
this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) will be
provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.
(1) Black and white.
Photographs, including photocopies of photographs, are not ordinarily
permitted in utility and design patent applications. The Office will accept
photographs in utility and design patent applications, however, if
photographs are the only practicable medium for illustrating the claimed
invention. For example, photographs or photomicrographs of: electrophoresis
gels, blots (e.g., immunological, western, Southern, and northern), auto-
radiographs, cell cultures (stained and unstained), histological tissue
cross sections (stained and unstained), animals, plants, in vivo imaging,
thin layer chromatography plates, crystalline structures, and, in a design
patent application, ornamental effects, are acceptable. If the subject
matter of the application admits of illustration by a drawing, the examiner
may require a drawing in place of the photograph. The photographs must be
of sufficient quality so that all details in the photographs are
reproducible in the printed patent.
photographs. Color photographs will be accepted in utility and design
patent applications if the conditions for accepting color drawings and
black and white photographs have been satisfied. See paragraphs (a)(2) and
(b)(1) of this section.
(c) Identification of
drawings. Identifying indicia, if provided, should include the title of the
invention, inventor's name, and application number, or docket number (if
any) if an application number has not been assigned to the application. If
this information is provided, it must be placed on the front of each sheet
and centered within the top margin.
(d) Graphic forms in
drawings. Chemical or mathematical formulae, tables, 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. 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.
(e) Type of paper.
Drawings submitted to the Office must be made on paper, which is flexible,
strong, white, smooth, non-shiny, and durable. All sheets must be
reasonably free from cracks, creases, and folds. Only one side of the sheet
may be used for the drawing. Each sheet must be reasonably free from
erasures and must be free from alterations, overwritings, and
interlineations. Photographs must be developed on paper meeting the
sheet-size requirements of paragraph (f) of this section and the margin
requirements of paragraph (g) of this section. See paragraph (b) of this
section for other requirements for photographs.
(f) Size of paper. All drawing sheets in an
application must be the same size. One of the shorter sides of the sheet is
regarded as its top. The size of the sheets on which drawings are made must
(1) 21.0 cm. by 29.7
cm. (DIN size A4), or
(2) 21.6 cm. by 27.9
cm. (8 1/2 by 11 inches).
(g) Margins. The
sheets must not contain frames around the sight (i.e., the usable surface),
but should have scan target points (i.e., cross hairs) printed on two
cater-corner margin corners. Each sheet must include a top margin of at
least 2.5 cm. (1 inch), a left side margin of at least 2.5 cm. (1 inch), a
right side margin of at least 1.5 cm. (5/8 inch), and a bottom margin of at
least 1.0 cm. (3/8 inch), thereby leaving a sight no greater than 17.0 cm.
by 26.2 cm. on 21.0 cm. by 29.7 cm. (DIN size A4) drawing sheets, and a
sight no greater than 17.6 cm. by 24.4 cm. (6 15/16 by 9 5/8 inches) on
21.6 cm. by 27.9 cm. (8 1/2 by 11 inch) drawing sheets.
(h) Views. The
drawing must contain as many views as necessary to show the invention. The
views may be plan, elevation, section, or perspective views. Detail 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 centerlines. Waveforms of
electrical signals may be connected by dashed lines to show the relative
timing of the waveforms.
(1) Exploded views.
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.
(2) 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.
(i) 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
(ii) 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
(3) Sectional views.
The plane upon which a sectional view is taken should be indicated on the
view from which the section is cut by a broken line. 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°. 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)
that is 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 as regards the nature of a material seen in
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.
(5) Modified forms.
Modified forms of construction must be shown in separate views.
(i) 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, with the appropriate top margin to
be used as the heading space, is on the right-hand side. 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).
(j) Front page view.
The drawing must contain as many views as necessary to show the invention.
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. Views must not be connected by projection lines and must not
contain centerlines. Applicant may suggest a single view (by figure number)
for inclusion on the front page of the patent application publication and
(k) Scale. The scale
to which a drawing is made must be large enough to show the mechanism
without crowding when the drawing is reduced in size to two-thirds in
reproduction. Indications such as “actual size” or “scale 1/2” on the
drawings are not permitted since these lose their meaning with reproduction
in a different format.
(l) Character of
lines, numbers, and letters. All drawings must be made by a process, which
will give them satisfactory reproduction characteristics. Every line,
number, and letter must be durable, clean, black (except for color
drawings), sufficiently dense and dark, and uniformly thick and well
defined. The weight of all lines and letters must be heavy enough to permit
adequate reproduction. This requirement applies to all lines however fine,
to shading, and to lines representing cut surfaces in sectional views.
Lines and strokes of different thickness may be used in the same drawing
where different thicknesses have a different meaning.
(m) Shading. The use
of shading in views is encouraged if it aids in understanding the invention
and if it does not reduce legibility. Shading is used to indicate the
surface or shape of spherical, cylindrical, and conical elements of an
object. Flat parts may also be lightly shaded. Such shading is preferred in
the case of parts shown in perspective, but not for cross sections. See
paragraph (h)(3) of this section. Spaced lines for shading are preferred.
These lines must be thin, as few in number as practicable, and they must
contrast with the rest of the drawings. As a substitute for shading, heavy
lines on the shade side of objects can be used except where they
superimpose on each other or obscure reference characters. Light should
come from the upper left corner at an angle of 45°??Surface delineations
should preferably be shown by proper shading. Solid black shading areas are
not permitted, except when used to represent bar graphs or color.
Graphical drawing symbols may be used for conventional elements when
appropriate. The elements for which such symbols and labeled
representations are used must be adequately identified in the
specification. Known devices should be illustrated by symbols, which have a
universally recognized conventional meaning and are generally accepted in
the art. Other symbols, which are not universally recognized, may be used,
subject to approval by the Office, if they are not likely to be confused
with existing conventional symbols, and if they are readily identifiable.
(o) Legends. Suitable
descriptive legends may be used subject to approval by the Office, or may
be required by the examiner where necessary for understanding of the
drawing. They should contain as few words as possible.
(p) Numbers, letters,
and reference characters.
characters (numerals are preferred), sheet numbers, and view numbers must
be plain and legible, and must not be used in association with brackets or
inverted commas, or enclosed within outlines, e.g., encircled. They must be
oriented in the same direction as the view so as to avoid having to rotate
the sheet. Reference characters should be arranged to follow the profile of
the object depicted.
(2) The English
alphabet must be used for letters, except where another alphabet is
customarily used, such as the Greek alphabet to indicate angles,
wavelengths, and mathematical formulas.
(3) Numbers, letters,
and reference characters must measure at least .32 cm. (1/8 inch) in
height. They should not be placed in the drawing so as to interfere with
its comprehension. Therefore, they should not cross or mingle with the
lines. They should not be placed upon hatched or shaded surfaces. When
necessary, such as indicating a surface or cross section, a reference character
may be underlined and a blank space may be left in the hatching or shading
where the character occurs so that it appears distinct.
(4) The same part of
an invention appearing in more than one view of the drawing must always be
designated by the same reference character, and the same reference
character must never be used to designate different parts.
characters not mentioned in the description shall not appear in the
drawings. Reference characters mentioned in the description must appear in
(q) Lead lines. Lead
lines are those lines between the reference characters and the details
referred to. Such lines may be straight or curved and should be as short as
possible. They must originate in the immediate proximity of the reference
character and extend to the feature indicated. Lead lines must not cross
each other. Lead lines are required for each reference character except for
those, which indicate the surface or cross section on which they are
placed. Such a reference character must be underlined to make it clear that
a lead line has not been left out by mistake. Lead lines must be executed
in the same way as lines in the drawing. See paragraph (l) of this section.
(r) Arrows. Arrows
may be used at the ends of lines, provided that their meaning is clear, as
(1) On a lead line, a
freestanding arrow to indicate the entire section towards which it points;
(2) On a lead line,
an arrow touching a line to indicate the surface shown by the line looking
along the direction of the arrow;
(3) To show the
direction of movement.
(s) Copyright or Mask
Work Notice. A copyright or mask work notice may appear in the drawing, but
must be placed within the sight of the drawing immediately below the figure
representing the copyright or mask work material and be limited to letters
having a print size of .32 cm. to .64 cm. (1/8 to 1/4 inches) high. The
content of the notice must be limited to only those elements provided for
by law. For example, “©1983 John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 401) and “*M* John Doe”
(17 U.S.C. 909) would be properly limited and, under current statutes,
legally sufficient notices of copyright and mask work, respectively.
Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice will be permitted only if the
authorization language set forth in § 1.71(e) is included at the beginning
(preferably as the first paragraph) of the specification.
(t) Numbering of
sheets of drawings. The sheets of drawings should be numbered in
consecutive Arabic numerals, starting with 1, within the sight as defined
in paragraph (g) of this section. These numbers, if present, must be placed
in the middle of the top of the sheet, but not in the margin. The numbers
can be placed on the right-hand side if the drawing extends too close to
the middle of the top edge of the usable surface. The drawing sheet
numbering must be clear and larger than the numbers used as reference
characters to avoid confusion. The number of each sheet should be shown by
two Arabic numerals placed on either side of an oblique line, with the
first being the sheet number and the second being the total number of
sheets of drawings, with no other marking.
(u) Numbering of
(1) The different
views must be numbered in consecutive Arabic numerals, starting with 1,
independent of the numbering of the sheets and, if possible, in the order
in which they appear on the drawing sheet(s). Partial views intended to
form one complete view, on one or several sheets, must be identified by the
same number followed by a capital letter. View numbers must be preceded by
the abbreviation “FIG.” Where only a single view is used in an application
to illustrate the claimed invention, it must not be numbered and the
abbreviation “FIG.” must not appear.
(2) Numbers and
letters identifying the views must be simple and clear and must not be used
in association with brackets, circles, or inverted commas. The view numbers
must be larger than the numbers used for reference characters.
markings. Authorized security markings may be placed on the drawings
provided they are outside the sight, preferably centered in the top margin.
(w) Corrections. Any
corrections on drawings submitted to the Office must be durable and
(x) Holes. No holes should
be made by applicant in the drawing sheets.
(y) Types of
drawings. See § 1.152 for design drawings, § 1.165 for plant drawings, and
§ 1.174 for reissue drawings.