Guide for Preparation of Patent Drawings (Illustrated): Instructions for the Creative Inventor


Protect your invention.

This edition of the Guide for the Preparation of Patent Drawings replaces the edition published in October 1993.

Eighteen-month (pre-grant) publication of utility and plant applications has led to major changes in the way utility and plant drawings are processed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). See the section titled PROCESSING OF DRAWINGS, beginning on Page 3.

The section titled SELECTED U.S. RULES OF PRACTICE RELATING TO PATENT DRAWINGS, beginning on Page 7, shows Title 35, United States Code, Section 113 and the drawing rules from Title 37, Code of Federal Regulations. In some instances the rule is followed by additional information under the heading COMMENTS.

With respect to the review of drawings in the U.S. national stage of international applications, Appendix 1 shows Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) 1893.03(f) (Drawings and PCT Rule 11).

With respect to Patent Cooperation Treaty drawing rules, Appendix 2 shows PCT Article 7 (The Drawings), PCT Rule 7 (The Drawings), and relevant portions of PCT Rule 11 (Physical Requirements of the International Application).

Conventional symbols are discussed and shown in Appendix 3.

Appendix 4 presents examples of drawings, each of which serves to illustrate one or more of the drawing standards set forth in 37 CFR 1.84.

Appendix 5 shows Form PTO-948 (NOTICE OF DRAFTSPERSON’S PATENT DRAWING REVIEW) as revised in April 2002.


Review of Drawings by Office of Initial Patent Examination

Utility drawings and plant drawings should be publication-ready at the time the application is filed.

In utility and plant applications filed on or after November 29, 2000 (other than continued prosecution applications), the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) will review the drawings at the time of filing to make sure they are of sufficient quality for publication. (Since design applications are not subject to eighteen-month publication, drawings filed in design applications are not reviewed by OIPE.) The procedure for review of drawings in the Office of Initial Patent Examination is described in Section 507 of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP), Eighth Edition (August 2001).

The Office will enter the publication-ready drawings, and any replacement drawings that applicant files pursuant to MPEP 507, into an electronic database. When the time for eighteen-month publication comes, the drawings in their electronic form will be used in the creation of the patent application (pre-grant) publication.

After the application has been allowed, the issue fee has been paid, and any new drawing requirements (including any corrections) have been satisfied, the physical drawing sheets will be captured and used in the creation of the patent (grant) publication.

Review by Office Draftsperson

There is no requirement that drawings be reviewed by an Office draftsperson. Drawings will be reviewed by an Office draftsperson only if the examiner seeks the draftsperson’s assistance in identifying errors in the drawings.

If an Office draftsperson reviews the drawings and finds that they are unacceptable, the draftsperson should complete a NOTICE OF DRAFTPERSON’S PATENT DRAWING REVIEW (Form PTO-948) and provide it to the examiner.

On Examiner’s First (Non-Allowance) Action

The examiner will make sure the drawings are correctly described in the specification’s brief description of the drawings and in the specification’s detailed description of the invention. See 37 CFR 1.74 on Page 9 of this drawing guide.

If a NOTICE OF DRAFTSPERSON’S PATENT DRAWING REVIEW is present in the patent application’s file, the notice should be mailed with the examiner’s first written communication to the applicant.

If the examiner sees any additional deficiencies in the drawings, he or she should note those deficiencies in an Office action.