- Drawings are required (for the most part)
- Multiple drawings showing multiple views of the invention are recommended
- Provisional application drawings are not required but are highly recommended
- Format for utility application drawings is strict, so use a patent illustrator to prepare the drawings
A picture says a thousand words, especially when it comes to patents.
If it’s possible to depict an invention as an illustration, a patent drawing is required. In the case of chemical compounds and methods, a drawing is not required, but is still recommended. Chemical formulas work well for chemical compound patent applications. Flow charts are advisable for method patent applications. Essentially, anything visual that will help the patent examiner better understand the invention is always the way to go.
One patent drawing is often not enough. Several drawings showing multiple views of the invention (e.g. top, side, bottom, perspective) are standard. Exploded views can be used to better reveal all the components.
The format for patent drawings (e.g. page size, margins, etc.) is specific, so it’s important to submit proper drawings. Have an illustrator who specializes in patent drawings prepare the drawings. An illustrator may charge as little as $50 per page. It’s worth the cost.
Black and white drawings are mandatory for utility application drawings; no color. A component must be identifiable by number. A line from the component number to the component is required. If you want to specify an assembly of components, an arrow must point to the assembly. Here’s an example of identifiable components and an assembly of components. Components 101, 102, and 103 are clearly shown (do not use arrowheads for identifying components). The assembly of components 100 shows an arrowhead pointing to the assembly of components.
Even though provisional applications don’t technically require drawings, include them anyway. A provisional application must fully support the subsequently filed utility application. Without drawings, it’s more difficult to show that the provisional application meets this requirement. The format for provisional application drawings isn’t as strict as for utility applications, so it’s OK to submit color drawings in the provisional applications. Photographs are even acceptable. But when it comes time to submit the utility application, you must follow the Patent Office’s guidelines for drawing submissions.