The applicant for a patent will be required by law to furnish patent drawings of the invention whenever the nature of the case requires patent drawings to understand the invention. However, the Commissioner may require patent drawings where the nature of the subject matter admits of it; these patent drawings must be filed with the application. This includes practically all inventions except compositions of matter or processes, but patent drawings may also be useful in the case of many processes.
The patent drawings must show every feature of the invention specified in the claims, and is required by the Office rules to be in a particular form. The Office specifies the size of the sheet on which the patent drawings are made, the type of paper, the margins, and other details relating to the making of the patent drawings. The reason for specifying the standards in detail is that the patent drawings are printed and published in a uniform style when the patent is issued, and the patent drawings must also be such that they can be readily understood by persons using the patent descriptions.
No names or other identification will be permitted within the “sight” of the drawing, and applicants are expected to use the space above and between the hole locations to identify each sheet of drawings. This identification may consist of the attorney’s name and docket number or the inventor’s name and application number and may include the sheet number and the total number of sheets filed (for example, “sheet 2 of 4”). The following rule, reproduced from title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations, relates to the standards for drawings:
Standards for Patent Drawings:
(a) Drawings. There are two acceptable categories for presenting drawings in utility 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. 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 or the subject matter of a statutory invention registration. The Patent and Trademark Office will accept color drawings in utility patent applications and statutory invention registrations 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 appropriate fee set forth
(ii) Three (3) sets of color patent drawings; and
(iii) The specification must contain the following language as the first paragraph in that portion of the specification relating to the brief description of the patent drawings:
‘‘The file of this patent contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent with color drawing(s) will be provided by the Patent and Trademark Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee."