Note: This article is part of a series on how to write a great patent application.
In my opinion, the drawing set is the most important part of a patent application. Everyone who picks up the patent application or patent will flip through the drawings. Everyone. As such, they need to look professional.
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 to show the use of the invention in context. For the tripod example, I would show a person using the tripod with their finger on the button while adjusting the camera.
The rest of the figures can show the various design constraints of the invention that are listed in the outline.
To show the movement of the tripod’s head, you can use arrows or illustrate it similarly to a flip book (a series of pages that show movement as you quickly flip through them). The figures in the drawing set can progress in much the same way if needed.
Alternatively, you can disassemble the parts and show them. I did just that in my description of how the tripod works internally.
Use a professional draftsperson who specializes in patent drawings. Make sure that they only draw patent drawings. Also, remember that they are not engineers. They can’t design the product for you. They can only place 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 them 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 8.5-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 look awkward and not size properly. Stick to 8.5″ x 11″ paper size.
How to lay out the figures
When you lay out the figures for the draftsperson, use the right type of diagram to show the invention. There are a few 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 10,” the reader can look for the number 10 on the drawings and understand that the legs don’t refer to a person’s legs but rather the legs of the tripod.
To identify the legs of the tripod, the patent draftsperson will label the legs with a number such as a 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 can 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 senior patent attorney.
How to write a patent application?
- Step 1: How to write the abstract and title of the patent application?
- Step 2: Download a sample outline, numbering worksheet and patent template
- Step 3: How to develop the outline of your patent application?
- Step 4: How to show your invention through the drawings?
- Step 5: Which section of the patent application should be written first?
- Step 6: How to write a claim for your patent application?
- Step 7: How to write the detailed description section of your patent application?
- Step 8: How to write the brief summary section of the patent application?
- Step 9: How to write the background section of the patent application?
- Step 10: How to write the summary paragraphs of the Detailed Description and Brief Summary sections?
- Step 11: How to write the abstract and title of the patent application?
- Step 12: Reread your patent application over and over again