The drawing set in my opinion is the most important part of the patent application. Everyone that picks up the patent application or patent will flip through the drawings – everyone. As such, they need to be professionally drawn up.
Related Resource: Preparing drawings for a utility patent application
Basics of preparing drawings for a utility patent application
The drawings need to show the design constraints you identified in the outline. To do so, I generally start with Figure 1 showing use of the invention in context. For the tripod example, I would show a person using the tripod with a person’s finger on the button while adjusting the camera.
The rest of the figures can show the various design constraints of the invention which are listed in the outline.
To show the movement of the head of the tripod, you can use arrows or you can show it similar to a flip book. A flip book is a series of pages that show movement as you quickly flip its pages. The figures in the drawing set can progress similarly to a flip book if needed.
Use a professional draftsperson that draws patent drawings. Make sure that the draftsperson only drawings patent drawings. Remember they are not engineers. They can’t design the product for you. They can only place the drawings in the format required by the patent office. If you need someone to design the product for you, use an engineer. After the engineer drafts the drawings, give those drawings to the patent draftsperson. This will cost you more money but it will be worth it in the end.
Formalities of drawings for a utility patent application
How to use a patent draftsperson?
Although the draftsperson draws up the invention, you have to give them the layout for the drawings.
Instruct the draftsperson to set up the drawings in 8 1/2 inch by 11-inch size paper. Some draftspeople set it up on A4 paper to give you more room. However, when you print your drawings, they may be awkward and may not size properly. Stick to 8.5 by 11-inch paper size.
How to layout the figures?
When you layout the figures for the draftsperson, use the right type of diagram to show the invention. Here are the different types of diagrams.
- Schematics are useful to show electrical circuits and fluid circuits.
- Flow charts are useful to show a process.
- Exploded views are useful to show how parts are assembled.
- Cross sectional views are useful to show internal shapes and parts.
How to identify various parts of the drawings?
Patent applications use numbers to identify various parts of the drawings.
The drawings and the written description of the patent application work together. To help the reader understand what they are reading, the text of the patent application refers to the drawings. When the text says legs, they understand that legs don’t refer to a person’s legs. Rather, when they see the figures and a tripod is shown, the reader understands that legs refer to the legs of the tripod.
To identify the legs of the tripod, the patent draftsperson will label the legs with a number such as leg 10. The reader can look for the number 10 on the drawing to see what the legs of the tripod look like.
The patent writer can use other tools to identify various parts of the drawings as well. For example, they will use the following drafting markups.
- Lead lines are useful to identify an edge or a surface.
- Arrows are useful to identify a part.
- Brackets can be used to show a combination of parts.
- Dashed boxes can be drawn around parts to identify an assembly.
Disclaimer: Use the information in this article at your own risk. It takes many years to learn how to draft a well-written patent application under the guidance of a more senior patent attorney.