Patent Application Drawing Requirements

Category: Patent Application Info

Patent Application Drawing Requirements

Information on drawing requirements is based substantially on 37 CFR § 1.84. There are two acceptable categories for presenting drawings in utility patent applications: black ink (black and white) and color.

Black and white drawings are normally required. India ink, or its equivalent that secures black solid lines, must be used for drawings. Drawings made by computer printer should be originals, not photocopies.

On rare occasions, color drawings may be necessary as the only practical medium by which the subject matter sought to be patented in a utility patent application is disclosed. The USPTO will accept color drawings in utility patent applications and statutory invention registrations only after granting a petition explaining why the color drawings are necessary. Any such petition must include the following:

    * the appropriate fee set forth in 37 CFR §1.17(h)
    * three sets of color drawings; and
    * the following language as the first paragraph in that portion of the specification relating to the BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING. If the language is not in the specification, an amendment to insert the language must accompany the petition.

"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."

Photographs are not ordinarily permitted in utility patent applications. The USPTO will accept black and white photographs in utility patent applications only in applications in which the invention is not capable of being illustrated in an ink drawing or where the invention is shown more clearly in a photograph. For example, photographs or photomicrographs of 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, and ornamental effects continue to be acceptable. Only one set of black and white photographs is required. Furthermore, no additional processing fee is required.

Photographs have the same sheet size requirements as other drawings. The photographs must be of sufficient quality so that all details in the drawing are reproducible in the printed patent or any patent application publication.

Color photographs will be accepted in utility patent applications if the conditions for accepting color drawings and black and white photographs have been satisfied.