MPEP 608.02
Drawing

This is the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 08.2017, Last Revised in Januay 2018

Previous: §608.01(w) | Next: §608.02(a)

608.02    Drawing [R-07.2015]

35 U.S.C. 113 Drawings.

The applicant shall furnish a drawing where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter to be patented. When the nature of such subject matter admits of illustration by a drawing and the applicant has not furnished such a drawing, the Commissioner may require its submission within a time period of not less than two months from the sending of a notice thereof. Drawings submitted after the filing date of the application may not be used (i) to overcome any insufficiency of the specification due to lack of an enabling disclosure or otherwise inadequate disclosure therein, or (ii) to supplement the original disclosure thereof for the purpose of interpretation of the scope of any claim.

37 C.F.R. 1.81 Drawings required in patent application.

[Editor Note: Para. (a) below is only applicable to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111 on or after December 18, 2013.]

  • (a) The applicant for a patent is required to furnish a drawing of the invention where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented. Since corrections are the responsibility of the applicant, the original drawing(s) should be retained by the applicant for any necessary future correction.
  • (b) Drawings may include illustrations which facilitate an understanding of the invention (for example, flow sheets in cases of processes, and diagrammatic views).
  • (c) Whenever the nature of the subject matter sought to be patented admits of illustration by a drawing without its being necessary for the understanding of the subject matter and the applicant has not furnished such a drawing, the examiner will require its submission within a time period of not less than two months from the date of the sending of a notice thereof.
  • (d) Drawings submitted after the filing date of the application may not be used to overcome any insufficiency of the specification due to lack of an enabling disclosure or otherwise inadequate disclosure therein, or to supplement the original disclosure thereof for the purpose of interpretation of the scope of any claim.

37 C.F.R. 1.81  (pre-PLT) Drawings required in patent application

[Editor Note: Para. (a) below is applicable to patent applications filed before December 18, 2013.]

  • (a) The applicant for a patent is required to furnish a drawing of the invention where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented; this drawing, or a high quality copy thereof, must be filed with the application. Since corrections are the responsibility of the applicant, the original drawing(s) should be retained by the applicant for any necessary future correction.

*****

I.    FILING DATE IN THE ABSENCE OF DRAWING

A.    Applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111 on or after December 18, 2013

For applications filed on or after December 18, 2013, other than design applications, 35 U.S.C. 111 no longer requires that an application contain a drawing where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented to be entitled to a filing date. 35 U.S.C. 113 continues to provide, however, that "[t]he applicant shall furnish a drawing where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented" and that "[d]rawings submitted after the filing date of the application may not be used (i) to overcome any insufficiency of the specification due to lack of an enabling disclosure or otherwise inadequate disclosure therein, or (ii) to supplement the original disclosure thereof for the purpose of interpretation of the scope of any claim." Thus, the absence of any drawing on the filing date of an application where a drawing is necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented may result in an applicant not being able to obtain a patent for any claimed invention presented in the application, but except for design applications, the absence of any drawing on the filing of an application no longer raises a question as to whether the application is entitled to a filing date.

Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 171, a design application (whether filed before, on, or after December 18, 2013) must be filed with any required drawing to be entitled to a filing date.

The preparation of drawings for a provisional or nonprovisional application is prudent where a drawing is necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented, and inclusion of such drawing(s) with the application on filing will help ensure that the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 113 are satisfied for any such claimed invention.

B.    Applications filed before December 18, 2013

For applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111 before December 18, 2013, a drawing (where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented), or a high quality copy thereof, must be filed with the application. See pre-PLT 35 U.S.C. 111, 35 U.S.C. 113, and pre-PLT 37 CFR 1.81.

In accordance with pre-PLT 35 U.S.C. 111, a specification and any necessary drawing(s) are among the requirements for an application to be given a filing date. The first sentence of 35 U.S.C 113 requires a drawing to be submitted where such drawing is necessary for the understanding of the invention. In this situation, the lack of a drawing renders the application incomplete and, as such, the application cannot be given a filing date until the drawing is received. The second sentence of 35 U.S.C. 113 addresses the situation wherein a drawing is not necessary for the understanding of the invention, but the subject matter sought to be patented admits of illustration and no drawing was submitted on filing. The lack of a drawing in this situation does not render the application incomplete but rather is treated as an informality. The examiner should require such drawings in almost all such instances. Such drawings could be required during the initial processing of the application but do not have to be furnished at the time the application is filed. The applicant is given at least two months from the date of the letter requiring drawings to submit the drawing(s).

II.    RECEIPT OF DRAWING AFTER THE FILING DATE

If the examiner discovers new matter in a substitute or additional drawing, the drawing should not be entered. The drawing should be objected to as containing new matter. A new drawing without such new matter may be required if the examiner determines that a drawing is needed under 37 CFR 1.81 or 37 CFR 1.83. The examiner’s decision would be reviewable by filing a petition under 37 CFR 1.181. The Technology Center (TC) Director would decide such a petition.

III.    HANDLING OF DRAWING REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE FIRST SENTENCE OF 35 U.S.C. 113

The Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) will make the initial decision in all new applications as to whether a drawing is "necessary" under the first sentence of 35 U.S.C. 113. A drawing will be considered necessary under the first sentence of 35 U.S.C. 113 in all applications where the drawing is referred to in the specification and one or more figures have been omitted.

The determination under 35 U.S.C. 113 (first sentence) as to when a drawing is necessary will be handled in OPAP in accordance with the following procedure. OPAP will make the initial determination as to whether drawings are required for the understanding of the subject matter of the invention. When no drawings are included in the application as filed and drawings are required, the applicant is so informed by OPAP. A filing date will not be granted if the application was filed under 35 U.S.C. 111 before December 18, 2013 and applicant will be notified to complete the application (37 CFR 1.53(e) ). If a drawing is later furnished in an application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111 before December 18, 2013, a filing date may be granted as of the date of receipt of such drawing.

An OPAP formality examiner should not treat an application without drawings as incomplete if drawings are not required. A drawing is not required for a filing date for applications, other than design applications, filed under 35 U.S.C. 111 on or after December 18, 2013. For applications filed before December 18, 2013 a drawing is not required for a filing date under pre-PLT 35 U.S.C. 111 if the application contains:

  • (A) at least one process claim including the term "process" or "method" in its introductory phrase;
  • (B) at least one composition claim including the term "composition," "compound," "mixture" or "pharmaceutical" in its introductory phrase;
  • (C) at least one claim directed to a coated article or product or to an article or product made from a particular material or composition (i.e., an article of known and conventional character (e.g., a table), coated with or made of a particular composition (e.g., a specified polymer such as polyvinyl-chloride));
  • (D) at least one claim directed to a laminated article or product (i.e., a laminated article of known and conventional character (e.g., a table)); or
  • (E) at least one claim directed to an article, apparatus, or system where the sole distinguishing feature is the presence of a particular material (e.g., a hydraulic system using a particular hydraulic fluid, or a conventional packaged suture using a particular material).

For a more complete explanation about when a drawing is required, see MPEP § 601.01(f). For applications submitted without all of the drawings described in the specification, see MPEP § 601.01(g).

If an examiner determines that a filing date should not have been granted in an application filed before December 18, 2013 because it does not contain drawings, the matter should be brought to the attention of the supervisory patent examiner (SPE) for review. If the SPE decides that drawings are required to understand the subject matter of the invention, the SPE should return the application to OPAP with a typed, signed, and dated memorandum requesting cancellation of the filing date and identifying the subject matter required to be illustrated.

IV.    HANDLING OF DRAWING REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE SECOND SENTENCE OF 35 U.S.C. 113 - ILLUSTRATION SUBSEQUENTLY REQUIRED

35 U.S.C.113 addresses the situation wherein a drawing is not necessary for the understanding of the invention, but the subject matter sought to be patented admits of illustration by a drawing and the applicant has not furnished a drawing. The lack of a drawing in this situation is treated as an informality. A filing date will be accorded with the original presentation of the papers. The acceptance of an application without a drawing does not preclude the examiner from requiring an illustration in the form of a drawing under 37 CFR 1.81(c). In requiring such a drawing, the examiner should clearly indicate that the requirement is made under 37 CFR 1.81(c) which applies when the nature of the subject matter sought to be patented admits of illustration by a drawing without its being necessary for the understanding of the subject matter. Examiners making such requirements are to specifically require, as a part of the applicant’s next reply, at least an ink sketch or permanent print of any drawing in reply to the requirement, even though no allowable subject matter is yet indicated. This will afford the examiner an early opportunity to determine the sufficiency of the illustration and the absence of new matter. See 37 CFR 1.121 and 37 CFR 1.81(d). One of the following form paragraphs may be used to require a drawing:

¶ 6.23    Subject Matter Admits of Illustration

The subject matter of this application admits of illustration by a drawing to facilitate understanding of the invention. Applicant is required to furnish a drawing under 37 CFR 1.81(c). No new matter may be introduced in the required drawing. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either "Replacement Sheet" or "New Sheet" pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d).

Examiner Note:

When requiring drawings before examination use form paragraph 6.23.01 with a PTOL-90 or PTO-90C form as a cover sheet.

¶ 6.23.01    Subject Matter Admits of Illustration (No Examination of Claims)

The subject matter of this application admits of illustration by a drawing to facilitate understanding of the invention. Applicant is required to furnish a drawing under 37 CFR 1.81. No new matter may be introduced in the required drawing.

Applicant is given a TWO MONTH time period to submit a drawing in compliance with 37 CFR 1.81. Extensions of time may be obtained under the provisions of 37 CFR 1.136(a). Failure to timely submit a drawing will result in ABANDONMENT of the application.

Examiner Note:

1. Use of this form paragraph should be extremely rare and limited to those instances where no examination can be performed due to lack of an illustration of the invention resulting in a lack of understanding of the claimed subject matter.

2. Use a PTOL-90 or PTO-90C form as a cover sheet for this communication.

Applicant should also amend the specification accordingly to refer to the new illustration at the time of submission of the drawing(s). This may obviate further correspondence where an amendment places the application in condition for allowance.

V.    DRAWING STANDARDS

37 C.F.R. 1.84 Standards for drawings.

  • (a) Drawings. There are two acceptable categories for presenting drawings in utility and design patent applications.
    • (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; or
    • (2) Color.Color drawings are permitted in design applications. Where a design application contains color drawings, the application must include the number of sets of color drawings required by paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section and the specification must contain the reference required by paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section. 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 patent application. 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 ). The Office will accept color drawings in utility patent applications only after granting a petition filed under this paragraph explaining why the color drawings are necessary. Any such petition must include the following:
      • (i) The fee set forth in § 1.17(h);
      • (ii) One (1) set of color drawings if submitted via the Office electronic filing system, or three (3) sets of color drawings if not submitted via the Office electronic filing system; and
      • (iii) 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.

  • (b) Photographs.—
    • (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.
    • (2) Color 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 should be provided, and 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 within the top margin. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be identified as either "Replacement Sheet" or "New Sheet" pursuant to § 1.121(d). If a marked-up copy of any amended drawing figure including annotations indicating the changes made is filed, such marked-up copy must be clearly labeled as "Annotated Sheet" pursuant to § 1.121(d)(1).
  • (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 be:
    • (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 center lines. 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 various sheets.
      • (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 and unambiguous.
    • (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 cross section.
    • (4) Alternate 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 center lines. Applicant may suggest a single view (by figure number) for inclusion on the front page of the patent application publication and patent.
  • (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 thicknesses 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.
  • (n) Symbols. 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.
    • (1) Reference 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.
    • (5) Reference characters not mentioned in the description shall not appear in the drawings. Reference characters mentioned in the description must appear in the drawings.
  • (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 follows:
    • (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; or
    • (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 views.
    • (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.
  • (v) Security 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 permanent.
  • (x) Holes. No holes should be made by applicant in the drawing sheets.
  • (y) Types of drawings. See § 1.152 for design drawings, § 1.1026 for international design reproductions, § 1.165 for plant drawings, and § 1.173(a)(2) for reissue drawings.

See MPEP § 608.02(b) for information pertaining to the acceptability of drawings. Note that good quality copies are acceptable if the lines are uniformly thick, black, and solid.

Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be identified as either "Replacement Sheet" or "New Sheet" so that the Office will recognize how to treat such a drawing sheet for entry into the application. See 37 CFR 1.84(c). Corrections to drawings must be made in the form of replacement sheets labeled, in the header, "Replacement Sheet" since the Office does not release drawings for correction. See 37 CFR 1.85. If a marked-up copy of any amended drawing figure, including annotations indicating the changes made, is filed, such marked-up copy must be clearly labeled as "Annotated Sheet."

Black and white drawings are permitted to be transmitted by facsimile if the drawings are being submitted after the filing date of the application. Applicants should ensure that the facsimile transmission process does not unreasonably degrade the quality of the drawings. Color drawings are not permitted to be transmitted by facsimile. See 37 CFR 1.6(d)(4).

Drawings are currently accepted in two different size formats. It is, however, required that all drawing sheets in a particular application be the same size for ease of handling.

For information regarding certified copies of an application-as-filed which does not meet the sheet size/margin and quality requirements of 37 CFR 1.52, 1.84(f), and1.84(g), see MPEP § 608.01, subsection III.

For design patent drawings, 37 CFR 1.152, see MPEP § 1503.02.

For international design reproductions, see 37 CFR 1.1026. Note that pursuant to 37 CFR 1.1061, the provisions of 37 CFR 1.84, except for 1.84(c), do not apply to international design applications.

For plant patent drawings, 37 CFR 1.165, see MPEP § 1606.

For reissue application drawings, see MPEP § 1413.

For correction of drawings, see MPEP § 608.02(p). For return of drawings, see MPEP § 608.02(y).

For amendment of drawings, 37 CFR 1.121(d), see MPEP § 714.

The filing of a divisional or continuation application under the provisions of 37 CFR 1.53(b) does not obviate the need for acceptable drawings. See MPEP § 608.02(b).

See MPEP § 601.01(f) for treatment of design applications without drawings or applications filed prior to December 18, 2013 without drawings and MPEP § 601.01(g) for treatment of applications filed without all figures of drawings or applications, other than a design application, filed on or after December 18, 2013 without drawings.

VI.    DEFINITIONS

A number of different terms are used when referring to drawings in patent applications. The following definitions are used in this Manual.

Original drawings: The drawing submitted with the application when filed.

Substitute drawing: A drawing filed later than the filing date of an application. Usually submitted to replace an original drawing that was unacceptable.

Acceptable drawing: A drawing that is acceptable for publication of the application or issuance of the patent.

Corrected drawing: A drawing that includes corrections of informalities and changes approved by the examiner.

Unacceptable drawing: The Office no longer considers drawings as formal or informal; drawings are either acceptable or unacceptable. Drawings that do not comply with all of the form requirements of 37 CFR 1.84, e.g., because they are not on the proper size sheets, or the quality of the lines is poor, may be acceptable for the purposes of publication and examination if the drawings are readable and reproducible for publication purposes. An objection will generally only be made to a drawing that does not comply with the form requirements of 37 CFR 1.84 if the Office is unable to reproduce the drawing or the contents of the drawing are unacceptable to the examiner.

Plan: This term is used to illustrate the top view.

Elevation: This term is used to illustrate views showing the height of objects.

VII.    BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS AND LINE DRAWINGS

37 C.F.R. 1.84 Standards for drawings.

  • (a) Drawings. There are two acceptable categories for presenting drawings in utility and design patent applications.
    • (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; or

*****

  • (b) Photographs.—
    • (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.

*****

A.    BLACK AND WHITE DRAWINGS

Black and white drawings are normally required in utility patent applications. India ink, or its equivalent that secures solid black lines, must be used for drawings. See MPEP § 608.02(c) for information relating to the location of drawings in IFW applications.

B.    BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS AND GRAYSCALE DRAWINGS

Black and white photographs, including photocopies of photographs, are not ordinarily permitted in utility and design patent applications. Photographs or photomicrograph printed on sensitized paper are acceptable as drawings, in lieu of India ink drawings, as are photographic images submitted via EFS-Web, to illustrate inventions which are incapable of being accurately or adequately depicted by India ink drawings, e.g., electrophoresis gels, blots, (e.g., immunological, western, Southern, and northern), autoradiographs, cell cultures (stained and unstained), histological tissue cross sections (stained and unstained), animals, plants, in vivo imaging, thin layer chromatography plates, crystalline structures, metallurgical microstructures, textile fabrics, grain structures and, in a design patent application, ornamental effects. The photographs or photomicrographs must show the invention more clearly than they can be done by India ink drawings and otherwise comply with the rules concerning such drawings.

Black and white photographs submitted in lieu of ink drawings must comply with 37 CFR 1.84(b). There is no requirement for a petition or petition fee, and only one set of photographs is required. See 37 CFR 1.84(b)(1).

To be acceptable, such photographs must be of sufficient quality so that all details in the photographs are reproducible in the printed patent. If several photographs are used to make one sheet of drawings, the photographs must be contained on a single sheet.

See MPEP § 608.02(c) for information relating to the location of drawings in IFW applications. See MPEP § 1503.02 for discussion of photographs used in design patent applications.

VIII.    COLOR DRAWINGS OR COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS

37 C.F.R. 1.84 Standards for drawings.

  • (a) Drawings. There are two acceptable categories for presenting drawings in utility and design patent applications:
    • *****
    • (2) Color. Color drawings are permitted in design applications. Where a design application contains color drawings, the application must include the number of sets of color drawings required by paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section and the specification must contain the reference required by paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section. 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 patent application. 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 ). The Office will accept color drawings in utility patent applications only after granting a petition filed under this paragraph explaining why the color drawings are necessary. Any such petition must include the following:
      • (i) The fee set forth in § 1.17(h);
      • (ii) One (1) set of color drawings if submitted via the Office electronic filing system, or three (3) sets of color drawings if not submitted via the Office electronic filing system; and
      • (iii) 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.

  • (b) Photographs.
    • *****
    • (2) Color 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.

*****

Color drawings and color photographs are permitted in design applications without the need for a petition. However, the specification of design applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) must include, or be amended to include, the reference to a drawing executed in color as provided for in 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2)(iii). Note that the drawing requirements set forth in 37 CFR 1.84 do not apply to nonprovisional international design applications, except for those set forth in 37 CFR 1.84(c). See 37 CFR 1.1061(b).

Color drawings and color photographs are not accepted in utility applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111 unless a petition filed under 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2) or (b)(2) is granted. Color drawings and color photographs are not permitted in international applications (see PCT Rule 11.13 ).

Unless a petition is filed and granted, color drawings or color photographs will not be accepted in a utility patent application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111. The examiner must object to the color drawings or color photographs as being improper and require applicant either to cancel the drawings or to provide substitute black and white drawings.

Under 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2) and (b)(2), the applicant must file a petition with fee requesting acceptance of the color drawings or color photographs. Color drawings and photographs must be of sufficient quality such that all details in the drawings are reproducible in black and white in the printed patent. Color photographs may be acceptable if the conditions for accepting color drawings and black and white photographs are met. One set of color drawings or color photographs is required if submitted via the Office electronic filing system, or three sets of color drawings or color photographs are required if not submitted via the Office electronic filing system (37 CFR 1.84(a)(2)(ii) ). The petition is decided by a Supervisory Patent Examiner. See MPEP § 1002.02(d).

Color photographs or color drawings will be stored in SCORE and a black and white copy thereof will be stored in IFW along with a SCORE placeholder sheet. Color drawings or color photographs submitted in paper are also maintained in an artifact folder.

Where color drawings or color photographs are filed in a continuing utility application, applicant must renew the petition under 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2) and (b)(2) even though a similar petition was filed in the prior application. Until the renewed petition is granted, the examiner must object to the color drawings or color photographs in the utility patent application as being improper.

In light of the substantial administrative and economic burden associated with printing a utility patent with color drawings or color photographs, the patent copies which are printed at issuance of the patent will depict the drawings in black and white only. However, a set of color drawings or color photographs will be attached to the Letters Patent. Moreover, copies of the patent with color drawings or color photographs attached thereto will be provided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office upon special request and payment of the fee necessary to recover the actual costs associated therewith.

Accordingly, the petition must also be accompanied by a proposed amendment to insert the following language as the first paragraph in the portion of the specification containing a 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.

If color drawings or color photographs have been filed, but the required petition has not, form paragraph 6.24.01 may be used to notify applicant that a petition is needed.

¶ 6.24.01    Color Photographs and Color Drawings, Petition Required

Color photographs and color drawings are not accepted in utility applications unless a petition filed under 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2) is granted. Any such petition must be accompanied by the appropriate fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(h), one set of color drawings or color photographs, as appropriate, if submitted via EFS-Web or three sets of color drawings or color photographs, as appropriate, if not submitted via EFS-Web, and, unless already present, an amendment to include the following language as the first paragraph of the brief description of the drawings section of the specification:

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.

Color photographs will be accepted if the conditions for accepting color drawings and black and white photographs have been satisfied. See 37 CFR 1.84(b)(2).

Examiner Note:

1. This form paragraph should be used only if the application contains color photographs or color drawings as the drawings required by 37 CFR 1.81.

2. This form paragraph should not be used in design applications.

It is anticipated that such a petition will be granted only when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has determined that a color drawing or color photograph is the only practical medium by which to disclose in a printed utility patent the subject matter to be patented.

It is emphasized that a decision to grant the petition should not be regarded as an indication that color drawings or color photographs are necessary to comply with a statutory requirement. In this latter respect, clearly it is desirable to file any desired color drawings or color photographs as part of the original application papers in order to avoid issues concerning statutory defects (e.g., lack of enablement under 35 U.S.C. 112 or new matter under 35 U.S.C. 132 ).

See MPEP § 608.02(c) for information relating to the location of drawings in IFW applications.

IX.    DRAWING SYMBOLS

37 CFR 1.84(n) indicates that graphic drawing symbols and other labeled representations may be used for conventional elements where appropriate, subject to approval by the Office. Also, suitable legends may be used, or may be required, in proper cases. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) (www.ansi.org) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (www.iso.org) are organizations whose numerous publications include some that pertain to graphical symbols,; the symbols therein are considered to be generally acceptable in patent drawings. Although ANSI and ISO documents and other published sources may be used as guides during the selection of graphic symbols for patent drawings, the Office will not "approve" any published collection of symbols as a group because their use and clarity must be decided on a case-by-case basis. Overly specific symbols should be avoided. Symbols with unclear meanings should be labeled for clarification.

Since design patents protect the appearance of an article, the use of graphic drawing symbols in design patent applications to indicate a particular material is generally not appropriate and will not be approved unless the material contributes to the appearance of the article. In addition, because color drawings may now be filed in a design application without the need for a petition, the use of graphic symbols to represent color is generally not appropriate and will not normally be approved by the Office. See MPEP § 1503.02, subsection V, and MPEP § 608.02,subsection VIII, for the submission of color drawings in design applications.

In utility patent applications, the following symbols should be used to indicate various materials where the material is an important feature of the invention. The use of conventional features is very helpful in making prior art searches.

Conventional Symbols and Shading in Drawings [Page 1 of 2]
Conventional Symbols and Shading in Drawings [Page 2 of 2]