Patent drawings or illustrations depicting the invention being addressed in the patent application is considered as an essential requirement by patent. Patent drawings provide a visual explanation of the invention and facilitate in understanding the working of the invention. Drawings that are considered to be essential to the understanding of a patent application can’t be added after the patent application as this would amount to the introduction of new subject matter which is prohibited.
Each patent office provides a set of guidelines as to how the drawings need to be made so that they are considered acceptable for filing along with patent application If any discrepancies from the guidelines are observed in the patent drawings, it could invite objections from the examiner.
Guidelines for drawings provided by USPTO and EPO are similar, both the office prefers drawings that are executed without colouring in black with lines having a uniform thickness and well-defined strokes. The offices discourage the usage of words in drawings unless it is indispensable in understanding the subject matter of the invention. The drawings are recommended to be done in such a way that if they are photographically reproduced then every aspect of the invention is distinctly identifiable. Although, neither office explicitly talks about the photographs they are nonetheless allowed; though this is specific to inventions where the photographs provide the best possible depiction for the working of the invention.
As already mentioned, drawings that do not adhere to the guidelines set out, receive objections when the patent examiner takes up the patent application during examination Some of the common objections encountered with respect to drawings include illegibility, unreadable font size, lack of information and unclear novelty.
Illegibility in a patent drawing essentially means that the working of the invention is unclear or indistinct. This could be due to unclean drawings, incorrect referencing which serves to confuse the examiner as to the aspect of the invention that a drawing is trying to illustrate. Referencing to components within a drawing that is not found in the description or claims could be considered an illegibility issue. Another aspect of illegibility includes the font size which is no readable. This happens in scenarios where in spite of providing correct referencing while making the drawing, the font size used is too small so as to render the drawing unreadable. On the other hand, if too large a font size is used, the neatness of the drawing is affected. Illustrations have to be sufficiently detailed so that the working of the invention is clear; however there might be instances where too many details are provided which are not essential to the invention, similarly, if too little details is included then the invention the working of the invention is rendered unclear Either of these cases is not desirable as this would lead to objections on the illustrations. Another instance where the examiner might raise objections if no proper explanation for the numerals provided in the drawings is absent in the description; similarly, if the numerals are explained in the description but they are not present in the drawings.
The drawings for a patent application must have clear referencing of all the elements of the drawings otherwise it would affect the clarity of the drawing. Providing incorrect numerals or not providing numerals for any part of the drawings pertaining to the inventions would invite objection from the examiner. Additionally,all drawings need to have essential information such as a title of invention, application and the date of filing lacking which the drawing will fail the requirement set out in the guidelines.
Inability to determine the novelty of an invention due to incorrect drawing has a bad impact on the patent application as this could be taken as non-conformity between the description and drawings. A detailed drawing clearly highlighting the novelty of the invention is essential as the patent office may not allow making any changes to the drawing at a later stage.
We at OutsourceIP are outfitted to provide the Illustrations in a quick and cost-effective manner in conformity with the requirements of the patent offices.