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How do I prepare drawings for my patent application?

As the inventor, we encourage you to submit images of your drawing to assist us in preparing the application.  If the drawings are prepared in accordance with certain guidelines, the drawings can be used in the patent application, saving you time and money.  After all, who better to translate your vision into a visual medium? 

Black and White Line Drawings:  Typically, black and white line drawings are preferred by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Drawings should consist of solid black lines sufficient to be reproducible in the printed patent.    Color is used on rare occasion, but only after the applicant has successfully petitioned to the USPTO that use of color is the only practical means by which to disclose the invention.  (Color drawings are not permitted in international applications or patent applications submitted by the electronic filing system.) 

Exclude Text: Your patent lawyer will determine any text that should appear in a drawing.  You may submit an annotated version and a clean version so that your patent lawyer may convert your drawing into appropriate formal drawings.  Your patent lawyer will add all required information, including proper identification on the drawing sheets including the title of invention, inventor’s name, and application number, or docket number if the application number has not been assigned. 

 For more details on the above and other specific items relating to patent drawings such as scale, shading, symbols, legends, numbers, letters, reference characters, lead lines, arrows, or use of photographs, please see 37 C.F.R. §1.84 or MPEP §1.84 – Appendix R Patent Rules.  We encourage you to read Section 1.84 before deciding whether to prepare the drawings on your own.  If the standards prove too daunting, you can work on the drawings with your patent lawyer.  Your patent lawyer may also opt to utilize a draftsperson that specializes in your type of invention.  There are several draftspersons available here in Los Angeles who specialize in patent drawings.

Written by
Dan Cotman
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