Patent Illustrations

     Formal Patent Drawings / Illustrations

Illustrations in a patent application are called Formal Patent Drawings. These drawings illustrate the invention, its embodiments or the prior art.

A Patent Drawing may consist of an engineering drawing, a line art illustration or a mix of the two. This does not mean that an engineering drawing or a line art illustration can be used directly as a Patent Drawing. Some modifications need to be done before using them as Patent Drawings.

These required modifications can be better understood by understanding the difference between Patent Drawings, engineering drawings and artistic drawings.

Patent Drawings versus Engineering Drawings

  • A Patent Drawing generally does not include dimensions like an engineering drawing.
  • In a Patent Drawing use of straight line shading or stippling to show the contour of surfaces is encouraged while it is not allowed in an Engineering Drawing.
  • Engineering drawing has come up as a language that is precise and unambiguous while a Patent Drawing follows this only in case of Design Patents.
  • In a Patent Drawing a lead lines is generally a curved line unlike the engineering drawing where a lead line consists of at least two straight lines.
  • Chemical or mathematical formulas, tables, computer program listings, and waveforms may be submitted as Patent drawings unlike the engineering drawings.
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