General – Invention patent Drawings / illutrations https://invention-patent-drawings.com Quality patent drawings / illustrations / design patent drawings at affordable cost Tue, 17 Mar 2020 00:34:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://invention-patent-drawings.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/cropped-favicon-50x50.jpg General – Invention patent Drawings / illutrations https://invention-patent-drawings.com 32 32 Avoiding Common Errors in Drawings for Design Patents https://invention-patent-drawings.com/avoiding-common-errors-in-drawings-for-design-patents/ Tue, 17 Mar 2020 00:32:15 +0000 https://invention-patent-drawings.com/?p=12854 Avoiding these common errors in design patent drawings can help ensure that your patent application will be approved and the patent will be strong in court.

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Errors in patent drawings can be a problem anytime, but they are especially problematic for design patents. Since for all intents and purposes the drawing IS the disclosure for a design patent, errors are likelier to lead to patent office rejection of the application.

As we described in our article, Successful Patent Drawings for Design Patents, there are specific requirements that drawings for design patents must meet. In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common errors in design patent drawings, and how they can be avoided.

Failure to comply with drawing specifications

Our article, “Complying with Patent Drawing Rules,” includes some of the many very specific rules the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has for all patent drawings, including things such as the quality of the ink and size of the paper and margins. The rules are very detailed. The best way to avoid rejections for failing to comply with the drawing specifications is to use a person or firm that has a lot of experience with patent drawings. You can’t just hire any graphic artist to come up with a drawing for a patent application and expect it to comply with the specifications.

Inconsistency

If your patent drawings are not consistent, then there’s no way to tell what exactly it is that you’re patenting. Sometimes a patent with inconsistent drawings will even make it through the patent office and be allowed, only to be found invalid in the event of a lawsuit. That’s what happened to Yummie Tummie, the owner of US Design Patent 666,384. Spanx made what Yummie Tummie claimed was a copy of their protected design. Yummie Tummie sued in Federal court, but the patent was thrown out because the height of the material that was shown in a side view was inconsistent with the height of the material shown in a back view. The court held it was a “fatal inconsistency” and held that the patent was not valid. See the two drawings below – the material in the side view looks like it’s lower down the back than what is shown in the back view.

us patent d666384 back view

Non-enablement

One of the requirements for design patent drawings, is that someone “skilled in the art” should be able to build the object by relying on the drawings in the disclosure, and nothing else.

For example, there’s an optical illusion known as the “Penrose Triangle.” If you were to submit this as a drawing for a design patent, it would be rejected because no one would be able to figure out how to make it:

 

Most non-enablement rejections from the patent office are far more subtle than this example. More typically it will include things such as an inability to tell whether a particular surface is flat or recessed, or whether screws protrude, etc. One way to avoid rejection for these types of errors is to include more drawings – in addition to the standard set of 7 drawings – all six sides plus one perspective drawing – additional perspective drawings may be needed so that someone could make the object without “resorting to conjecture.” In other words, without guessing.

Ambiguity

Ambiguity may occur if you don’t have enough drawings. For example, in the below drawing of the front of a box on feet, a side view can show how many feet there are. However, if you neglect to include a bottom view (a common mistake) there’s no way to know whether the feet are square or round, and the application would be rejected for ambiguity. As with non-enablement, additional drawings could prevent rejections for ambiguity.

Conclusion

Consistent, unambiguous drawings that comply with all patent office specifications are essential to getting your design patent approved by the patent office and upheld in court should another company infringe. One of the best ways to avoid problems with rejected drawings is to use an experienced patent illustrator, such as Invention Patent Drawings, to create your drawings. Contact us for more information.

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Successful Patent Drawings for Design Patents https://invention-patent-drawings.com/successful-patent-drawings-for-design-patents/ Thu, 20 Feb 2020 20:47:26 +0000 https://invention-patent-drawings.com/?p=12811 While patent drawings are essential for almost any successful patent application, they are even more important for design patent applications than for utility patents. Since design patents are for ornamentation and appearance, the drawing IS the disclosure. When considering what goes into drawings for design patents, it’s good to keep in mind the US patent […]

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While patent drawings are essential for almost any successful patent application, they are even more important for design patent applications than for utility patents. Since design patents are for ornamentation and appearance, the drawing IS the disclosure.

When considering what goes into drawings for design patents, it’s good to keep in mind the US patent office’s (USPTO) definition of a design:

A design consists of the visual ornamental characteristics embodied in, or applied to, an article of manufacture. Since a design is manifested in appearance, the subject matter of a design patent application may relate to the configuration or shape of an article, to the surface ornamentation applied to an article, or to the combination of configuration and surface ornamentation.

The designs must be:

  • New
  • Original
  • Ornamental
  • For an article of manufacture (you can’t get a design patent for the way something would look in a video game – you would protect that with a copyright)

Design patent drawings have to comply with all of the standard rules required of all patent drawings, i.e., black and white, India ink or equivalent black lines, particular sizes of paper and margins. See our article “Complying with Patent Drawing Rules” for more information.

Additionally, there are specific requirements for drawings for design patents:

  • Required views: front, rear, right, left, top, bottom. It’s a good idea to include perspective views – they can make it easier to visualize the appearance and shape of the design.
  • Shading: USPTO rules mandate shading in patent drawings to properly depict the contours of three-dimensional surfaces. There are specific rules for the shading – when to use lines versus stippling, it should look like the light is coming from the upper left, etc.
  • Broken or dashed lines indicate design elements not included in the patent

Exploded views can also be helpful if the design includes an element that may sometimes be hidden from view, as in the below example:

Note that even though the exploded view has different parts, the patent only covers the design as a whole. A design patent only covers one single design. In the above example, if you didn’t want someone to be able to use the design of the lid on a different style of teapot, you would need to get a separate design patent for the lid.

It is possible to get multiple patents for different design features on the same object. See for example these two illustrations for separate patents both relating to the design of Apple’s iPhone:

iPhone design

US Patent D580,387S

iPhone design

US Patent D581,922S

Note that you can get a design patent for the contours/configuration of an object as well as for the surface ornamentation on an object, but you cannot get a patent for surface ornamentation separate from the object. This is best illustrated by these three illustrations from the USPTO:

You cannot patent “disembodied ornamentation,” for example the above surface ornamentation not on any particular object. In the above example, we can tell in the first illustration the patent is only for the surface ornamentation on the article and not the article itself because of the dashed lines showing the article. In the third illustration, the object is shown with solid lines and shading, indicating it is part of the patent.

Design patent drawings must be extremely precise and consistent. Any error in the drawings that would make two views of an object inconsistent with each other will result in the patent application being rejected. Watch for a future article on common problems in design patent drawings and how to fix them.

As you can see, accurate and consistent patent drawings in compliance with all appropriate patent office regulations and specifications are essential to a successful design patent application. The cost to hire a professional patent illustrator to do the design drawings is modest compared with the cost and hassle involved with a rejected application. Please contact us to discuss your patent drawing needs.

 

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Improving Patent Applications with Patent Drawings https://invention-patent-drawings.com/improving-patent-applications-with-patent-drawings/ Fri, 31 Jan 2020 23:24:35 +0000 https://invention-patent-drawings.com/?p=12803 By law, patent applications need to include at least one drawing if the patented object or process is capable of being rendered in an illustration. However, it’s always worthwhile to try and include a drawing if at all possible, even if for a particular patent application it’s not strictly required. For example, if you’re claiming […]

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By law, patent applications need to include at least one drawing if the patented object or process is capable of being rendered in an illustration. However, it’s always worthwhile to try and include a drawing if at all possible, even if for a particular patent application it’s not strictly required. For example, if you’re claiming a method or process a drawing might not be technically required, but some kind of illustration – a flowchart or diagram perhaps – will strengthen the application.

Even though the rules may require only one drawing under normal circumstances, your patent application will be much stronger with more drawings. Drawings are not only helpful in getting your patent approved, they can be important if your patent is ever involved in a lawsuit. If an important detail was left out of the written description of the patent, drawings can still disclose what’s in the patent. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the primary appeals court for patent cases, often refers to drawings as part of their deliberations.

For example, the following drawing wasn’t strictly needed for the patent application because it’s a business method, not a physical device. Nonetheless the drawing adds value because it helps show the many interconnections that are described in the text of the patent.

business method diagramExploded views are also often helpful. For example, the following exploded view of a hamburger press shows how the device will be able to both make a Texas-shaped hamburger patty, and how it will create the “lone star” emblem of Texas.

texas hamburger press exploded viewWhile most patent applications have around a dozen drawings, there is no upper limit. For example, US Patent 8499780, for a cassette system integrated apparatus, has 206 illustrations, one of them featured below. You may be wondering, why would they need so many illustrations? There are several major subassemblies, and each one has drawings. They have left views, right views, exploded views, internal views. The drawings clearly depict all of the many pieces that go into a complicated piece of hardware.

detail drawing cassette mechanismSome people are under the mistaken impression that they are better off if they’re patent application is vague – they assume broader means they have a better patent because it covers more, but the truth is broader means you’ll both have a harder time getting a patent in the first place, and if you do manage to get something fairly broad past an examiner it’s much likelier to be knocked out in court if it’s ever challenged because it also means there’s a much wider net of prior art that could be used to invalidate the patent. Detailed drawings that specifically show what your invention is all about are a big help in getting a strong patent that will survive challenges in court.

Non-provisional patent applications may be submitted without drawings – you’re allowed to submit drawings later. But you can’t add new matter after filing. If your written description neglects an important feature, your drawing can’t add it later. It’s definitely wisest to submit your drawings with the original patent application.

And when you submit patent drawings, it’s very important that the drawings comply with all of the patent office specifications – a sketch on the back of a napkin is not sufficient. See our article “Complying with Patent Drawing Rules” for more information on what the patent office looks for in drawings.

There’s a saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Nowhere is this more true than in the world of patents! To know more about our patent illustration services and pricing, please email us at info@invention-patent-drawings.com or call us at +1-917-508-8816.

 

 

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Patent Drawings as Works of Art https://invention-patent-drawings.com/patent-drawings-as-works-of-art/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 21:45:05 +0000 https://invention-patent-drawings.com/?p=12794 Nowadays, no one but an inventor would hang a patent drawing on a wall. But once upon a time, patent drawings often went way beyond the merely functional – some of them were museum-quality works of art. Take a look at this drawing from a patent for a fire ladder in 1837. It includes many […]

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Nowadays, no one but an inventor would hang a patent drawing on a wall. But once upon a time, patent drawings often went way beyond the merely functional – some of them were museum-quality works of art.

Take a look at this drawing from a patent for a fire ladder in 1837. It includes many extraneous details you’d never see in a patent drawing today: a tree in the background, flames and smoke coming out of a window, someone shouting out either an alarm or instructions.

Or how about this patent for an oarlock from 1883? Not only are there clouds, the rower has a moustache, and is that sweat on his brow?

Or this patented way to keep your cool from 1800? The artist added not only a pipe, but a newspaper to convey how relaxing it would be to lounge around with this invention providing a gentle breeze.


You don’t have to actually build your machine and prove it works to get a patent, as is obvious from this flying machine patent from 1869 – anyone trying to fly in this device would surely be killed, but the drawing for the patent is a work of art, again with details and coloring we don’t see anymore.

patented flying machine

A fire in 1836 destroyed many beautiful, early patent drawings. After the fire, the patent office started to require drawings submitted in duplicate, so in the event of a fire in one place there would still be a copy. It was too much effort to include extraneous details on multiple copies, so patent drawings started becoming simpler.

Over time, both law and custom have dictated simpler patent drawings.

In 2000, the US Patent Office changed some of the rules for patent drawings because it wanted to “focus on having a drawing that can communicate the invention to the examiner and on the scanability of the drawings so as to produce readable drawings in published applications and patents.” To make reproduction and scanning easier, patent drawings must be black and white, unless color is needed to explain the invention. The same considerations mean no more extraneous details. Besides the regulatory requirements, businesses today are universally cost-conscious. No business is going to spend money on artistic flourishes to a patent drawing.

As a result, today’s patent drawings are generally not as artistically beautiful as patent drawings from years gone by – see this drawing from Apple’s iPhone design patent as an example:

iPhone patent drawingOn the other hand, the iPhone has generated billions of dollars in revenue for Apple. We’re sure that Apple’s shareholders find that drawing quite beautiful.

The patent drawings we create for clients may not be something that museums will acquire to adorn their walls, but they will help our clients receive their patents, and there’s nothing more beautiful to an inventor than that patent certificate. Whether your drawings needs are for something as simple as the iPhone design, or something as complex as a flying machine, we are the ready to be of service. Learn more about how we work.

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Why are patent drawings different from other illustrations? https://invention-patent-drawings.com/why-are-patent-drawings-different-from-other-illustrations/ Wed, 01 Jan 2020 16:21:19 +0000 https://invention-patent-drawings.com/?p=12785 The post Why are patent drawings different from other illustrations? appeared first on Invention patent Drawings / illutrations.

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Patent drawings aren’t just like other kinds of drawings.

Patent illustrations aren’t intended to just show what an invention looks like. For utility patents, they need to be specific and detailed enough that someone “skilled in the art” can actually build the item described or use the method disclosed by the patent.

For example, if you’ve invented a new kind of bicycle, it’s not enough to submit a pretty picture of what it looks like – suitable for a magazine ad. You have to explain with pictures not just how to put the pieces together (like with Ikea directions), but how each part is made. You need enough details that someone who runs a bicycle factory can build your bicycle.

How many views do you need?

Patent drawings of a physical object need to fully show its appearance. For most three-dimensional objects, this will mean at least six views:  top, bottom, front, back, left, and right.

Other views may also be needed to make things clear to the patent examiner. For example, perspective views, sectional views, or exploded views may be appropriate. If the invention has moving parts, it may be necessary to show how the parts are arranged when the machine is in use.

Shading (the little lines on the patent drawing above) may be needed to indicate contours and different surfaces.

The US Patent Office has very specific rules about what patent drawings can and can’t include, and failing to follow these rules can get a patent application rejected – wasting time and possibly losing out on patent rights if another inventor beats you to the Patent Office.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Patent Drawings

In the past, patent illustrations could be ornate works of art, created by hand with fancy penmanship. These days, patent drawings are almost always created using CAD – computer-aided design.

CAD software is used by architects, engineers, drafters, and others to create precision drawings and technical illustrations. In some cases, CAD files can be fed directly into 3-D printers or other manufacturing devices to directly create physical objects.

However, unlike CAD drawings created for manufacturing purposes, patent drawings don’t normally include precise measurements.  In fact, including precise measurements in patent illustrations can be a really bad idea, since it can suggest to the patent examiner that you’re only claiming an invention with those exact measurements – and not larger or smaller models of the same thing.

Because the rules for creating drawings to accompany a patent application are so detailed and specific, not just anyone with CAD software can create patent illustrations correctly. To maximize the chances that your patent will be granted the FIRST time you submit your application, it’s a good idea to work with a professional, experienced patent drawing firm.

Learn More about Professional Patent Drawings

To know more about our patent illustration services and pricing, please email us at info@invention-patent-drawings.com or call us at +1-917-508-8816.

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Christmas Presents for Young Inventors https://invention-patent-drawings.com/christmas-presents-for-young-inventors/ Thu, 12 Dec 2019 20:53:06 +0000 https://invention-patent-drawings.com/?p=12800 There’s no age requirement for getting a patent, and the youngest person to be granted a patent (so far) was a four-year-old Houston girl who invented an aid for grasping round knobs. A little-known holiday called “Kid Inventor’s Day” is celebrated on January 17 – Benjamin Franklin’s birthday. Franklin, a renowned inventor of things like […]

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There’s no age requirement for getting a patent, and the youngest person to be granted a patent (so far) was a four-year-old Houston girl who invented an aid for grasping round knobs.

A little-known holiday called “Kid Inventor’s Day” is celebrated on January 17 – Benjamin Franklin’s birthday. Franklin, a renowned inventor of things like bifocals and the Franklin stove – got his start at age 12, when he invented swim flippers.

Inventing isn’t just fun for kids – it can even be lucrative.

Kids have come up with all sorts of profitable inventions, including the “Makin’ Bacon” vertical microwave bacon cooker, created by eight-year-old Abbey Fleck. The company her family launched as a result earned more than $1 million in royalties annually.

Eleven-year-old Richie Stachowski created an underwater communication device that he pitched to Toys “R” Us – which promptly ordered 50,000 units.

As Wired reported, ten-year-old Owen Nannarone invented a golf tee that records the angle and speed of a golf club and sends the information to a smartphone. You can see what Wired called the “World’s Cutest Patent Drawing” here.

(We agree that it’s a cute patent drawing – but it probably wouldn’t be accepted by the US Patent Office, as we explain in this blog.)

As Wired reported.

Owen’s parents believe drawing patent applications and thinking of new inventions is a great way for Owen to focus his energy, which might otherwise get him in to trouble.

Here are some Christmas present ideas for young inventors.

CAD Software

There’s a variety of CAD (computer-assisted design) software designed for kids – some of which interfaces directly with 3D printers.

CAD files are the basis of most modern patent drawings for patent applications.

Kits

The littleBits Avengers Hero Inventor Kit ($111) allows kids to build an Ironman-style gauntlet that can be controlled with a smartphone.

Similarly, the littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit ($100), which won more than 50 toy awards, lets kids build and program their own R2-D2-style robot.

Makey Makey ($50) is an open-ended invention kit that lets kids do things like turn bananas into touchpads.

Books

Kids Inventing! A Handbook for Young Inventors by Susan Casey ($16) explains the invention process from finding an idea through patent drawings and prototypes. It even explains how to apply for a patent in kid-friendly language.

The Most Magnificent Thing ($12) is a picture book for ages 3-7 about a young girl who creates drawings of her inventions that “supportively portrays the sometimes-frustrating process of translating ideas to reality.”

Magazines

Cricket Media offers several publications on inventors and inventions, for kids of all ages, for just $6.95.

Subscription Boxes

Creation Crate (from $29.99 per month) delivers kits that parents and kids can work on together to build things like mood lamps and FM radios.

Do-It-Yourself

Parents on a budget can create their own Young Inventors kit using common household items.

Donate to a Worthy Cause

Little Inventors, a UK-based non-profit, is dedicated to giving “children across the world the opportunity to develop and showcase their creativity and problem-solving skills, build their confidence, curiosity and resilience to become caring citizens of our planet.”

Professional Patent Drawings

Patent drawings are so affordable, you could even have your child’s own drawing turned into something more polished as a special present.

When you’re ready to have professional patent drawings made, send us an email at info@invention-patent-drawings.com or call us at +1-917-508-8816.

 

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Expanding Patent Disclosures with Patent Drawings https://invention-patent-drawings.com/expanding-patent-disclosures-with-patent-drawings/ Sun, 01 Dec 2019 19:46:35 +0000 https://invention-patent-drawings.com/?p=12776 The post Expanding Patent Disclosures with Patent Drawings appeared first on Invention patent Drawings / illutrations.

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Under US patent law, if an invention can be showing with a patent drawing or illustration, then at least one is required.

According to the Manual of Patent Examining Procedures,

drawings shall be required when they are necessary for the understanding of the invention.

(2) Where, without being necessary for the understanding of the invention, the nature of the invention admits of illustration by drawings:

(i) the applicant may include such drawings in the international application when filed.

(ii) any designated Office may require that the applicant file such drawings with it within the prescribed time limit.

Flow charts and diagrams are also considered patent “drawings.”

No Scribbles Accepted

A proper patent drawing can’t just be a scribble on the back of an envelope – though many inventions start out that humbly.

To be accepted by the US Patent Office, patent illustrations must meet a long list of physical requirements.

For example, as the Manual describes,

  • The drawings shall not contain text matter, except a single word or words, when absolutely indispensable, such as “water,” “steam,” “open,” “closed,” “section on AB,” and, in the case of electric circuits and block schematic or flow sheet diagrams, a few short catchwords indispensable for understanding.
  • Drawings shall be executed in durable, black, sufficiently dense and dark, uniformly thick and well-defined, lines and strokes without colorings.
  • Cross-sections shall be indicated by oblique hatching which should not impede the clear reading of the reference signs and leading lines.
  • The scale of the drawings and the distinctness of their graphical execution shall be such that a photographic reproduction with a linear reduction in size to two-thirds would enable all details to be distinguished without difficulty.

These requirements serve several purposes:

  • They make things as clear as possible for patent examiners.
  • They make it possible for patent drawings to be clearly reproduced on paper or shown on computer screens.
  • They allow others to use the patent illustrations like a technical manual so they can actually make or practice the invention.

As stated in 37 CFR 1.71, a patent application

must include a written description of the invention or discovery and of the manner and process of making and using the same, and is required to be in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which the invention or discovery appertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same.

The Patent Monopoly

Essentially, the inventor is “trading” these detailed instructions (which may benefit the public for generations to come) for the limited government-granted monopoly over the patented invention during its term.

Because the patent drawing requirements are so detailed and complex, and because doing drawings for patent applications requires a high level of specialized technical skill, most patent lawyers and inventors use professional patent illustration firms rather then trying to do the drawings on their own.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words” – especially when it comes to patent drawings. Concepts that may be difficult or impossible to explain in words alone may become crystal clear when presented graphically in a patent illustration.

The Patent Drawing Safety Net

Patent drawings can also serve as a sort of “safety net” or second chance if the written part of a patent application isn’t as clear or thorough as it should be.

As an article in Forbes notes, a drawing in a provisional patent application (PPA) can “save” you when it comes time to file a non-provisional application:

I’ve learned that if you show something in the drawings section of your PPA that you forgot to describe in your write-up, you can still include it in your non-provisional patent application. (If you don’t include something in your PPA, it can’t be added later. You can file another PPA, but that will change your priority date.)

If some aspect of an invention isn’t stated in words, but it is shown in a patent illustration, that drawing is still considered part of the disclosure and can be used to support the patent claims.

More Patent Drawings Are Better

Thus, it’s always better to include more patent drawings rather than fewer, showing an invention from every angle, in cross-sections, and in an “exploded view” when applicable to clarify how all the parts fit together.

For example, here’s an illustration of the Avrocar — a prototype supersonic, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) fighter-bomber from the early 1950s that looked like a flying saucer.

avrocar_illustration

And here’s an “exploded” view:

avrocar_exploded_viewAnd here’s the actual vehicle, in the National Museum of the US Air Force:

avrocar_pictureWith good patent illustrations, you increase the odds that your patent will be granted – so that your business can take off like an Avcrocar!=

Learn More about Expanding Your Patent Claims with Professional Patent Drawings

To know more about our services and pricing, please send us an email at info@invention-patent-drawings.com or call us at +1-917-508-8816.

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The Importance of Patent Drawings in Reissue Cases https://invention-patent-drawings.com/the-importance-of-patent-drawings-in-reissue-cases/ Sat, 30 Nov 2019 00:17:20 +0000 https://invention-patent-drawings.com/?p=12768 A recent case from the Federal Circuit illustrates the importance of comprehensive patent drawings when seeking the reissue of a patent. Under 35 U.S.C. 251, a patent can be reissued if the original patent is defective: Whenever any patent is, through error, deemed wholly or partly inoperative or invalid, by reason of a defective specification […]

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A recent case from the Federal Circuit illustrates the importance of comprehensive patent drawings when seeking the reissue of a patent.

Under 35 U.S.C. 251, a patent can be reissued if the original patent is defective:

Whenever any patent is, through error, deemed wholly or partly inoperative or invalid, by reason of a defective specification or drawing, or by reason of the patentee claiming more or less than he had a right to claim in the patent, the Director shall, on the surrender of such patent and the payment of the fee required by law, reissue the patent for the invention disclosed in the original patent, and in accordance with a new and amended application, for the unexpired part of the term of the original patent. No new matter shall be introduced into the application for reissue.

The case of Forum US, Inc. v. Flow Valve, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2019) involved a patent for a “Workpiece Supporting Assembly.”

Adding Patent Claims

Flow Valve owned the original patent, and during the prosecution of the reissue patent added seven claims – but made no changes to the written descriptions or drawings of the original patent.

As the court noted,

The Reissue patent relates to supporting assemblies, i.e., fixtures, for holding workpieces during machining. The workpieces disclosed in the patent are machined pipe fittings, such as those used in the oil and gas industry. Such fittings attach to other pipe sections by means of threaded connections where one or more ends of the fitting require machining on a turning machine to form threads or seat surfaces.

Machinists often make and use fixtures that utilize arbors to hold the workpiece while it rotates on the turning machine, and it is advantageous to have a multi-purpose fixture capable of holding a workpiece in multiple orientations to expedite machining by minimizing setup time.

Arbors

An “arbor” (also known as a mandril or spindle) is an axis or shaft that supports a rotating part on a lathe.

The written description and patent drawings disclosed only embodiments of the invention with arbors, shown by the red circles in the following patent illustration:

patentThe written description in the patent application explained that “the multiple arbors of the workpiece supporting assembly provides [sic] means for machining the ends of the unfinished elbow member…”

However, in the reissue patent, the patentee broadened the claims to include embodiments that didn’t use arbors.

Declaratory Judgement

In 2017, before it could be sued by Flow Valve for patent infringement, Forum US Inc. filed a declaratory judgement action seeking a declaration that the reissue patent was invalid. Forum contended that the reissue claims improperly broadened the original patent claims by omitting the arbor limitations.

Flow countered that a person of “ordinary skill in the art” would understand that the patent disclosed multiple inventions – with and without arbors.

The district court said that it didn’t matter that a skilled person would understand the broader implications of the patent:

no matter what a person of ordinary skill would recognize, the specification of the original patent must clearly and unequivocally disclose the newly claimed invention in order to satisfy the original patent rule.

The court thus granted summary judgement for Forum on the grounds that the written description and drawings of the reissue patent do not “explicitly and unequivocally” indicate the invention claimed in the reissue claims.

Flow appealed.

The “Same Invention” Requirement

The Federal Circuit cited a US Supreme Court case on the issue:

[T]o warrant new and broader claims in a reissue, such claims must not be merely suggested or indicated in the original specification, drawings, or models, but it must further appear from the original patent that they constitute parts or portions of the invention, which were intended or sought to be covered or secured by such original patent.

This is called the “same invention” requirement and is now embodied in the patent statute.

The case shows the importance of detailed and comprehensive patent drawings in support of a patent application.

In this case, if the original patent illustrations had disclosed a version of the invention without arbors, the patentee would likely have prevailed when the patent was challenged.

Find Out More about Affordable, Professional Patent Drawings

To know more about our patent illustration services and pricing, please send us an email at info@invention-patent-drawings.com or call us at +1-917-508-8816.

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How Detailed Do Patent Drawings Need to Be? https://invention-patent-drawings.com/how-detailed-do-patent-drawings-need-to-be/ Fri, 04 Oct 2019 05:58:45 +0000 https://invention-patent-drawings.com/?p=12701 Inventors sometimes wonder, “How detailed and professional do the drawings in my patent application need to be?”

The answer is, “VERY detailed and VERY professional – if you want to maximize the likelihood that your patent application will be granted.”

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Inventors sometimes wonder, “How detailed and professional do the drawings in my patent application need to be?”

The answer is, “VERY detailed and VERY professional – if you want to maximize the likelihood that your patent application will be granted.”

Although your invention may have originated as a rough sketch on the back of an envelope, the patent drawings that accompany your patent application need to meet a higher standard.

Under 35 U.S. Code § 112, a patent application

shall contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same, and shall set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor or joint inventor of carrying out the invention.

Somewhat different rules apply to design patent versus utility patent illustrations.

Design Patents

Design patents deal with the cosmetic (non-functional) features of an object.

For example, the rounded corners of an iPhone, or the curves of a Coca-Cola bottle, are design elements that can be protected by patents.

As the USPTO notes,

The drawing disclosure is the most important element of the application. Every design patent application must include either a drawing or a black and white photograph of the claimed design. As the drawing or photograph constitutes the entire visual disclosure of the claim, it is of utmost importance that the drawing or photograph be clear and complete, that nothing regarding the design sought to be patented is left to conjecture. The design drawing or photograph must comply with the disclosure requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph. To meet the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112, the drawings or photographs must include a sufficient number of views to constitute a complete disclosure of the appearance of the design claimed.

(Emphasis added.)

Patent Photos or Drawings?

Of course, the downside of presenting photographs rather than patent drawings is that you have to have something to photograph!  This means that you need to actually create a prototype before submitting your design patent application, which can be expensive. You may not want to go to this expense before you know whether your design patent will be granted.

Another downside to photos is that even the best photos may not show all aspects of a design as well as a drawing can.

That’s why design patent illustrations are usually submitted as black-and-white line drawings. A skilled patent illustration firm can create such drawings from rough sketches, without the need for an expensive prototype.

The Patent Office will accept color patent drawings only after the granting of a petition filed under 37 CFR §1.84(a)(2). This petition must explain why the color drawings or photographs are necessary. The petition must include three sets of color drawings. In other words, you have to create color patent drawings in order to get permission to submit color patent drawings!

How Many Views Do You Need?

The patent drawings in a design patent application need to include enough views to fully show the appearance of a claimed design. For example, this would often include front, rear, top, bottom, right, and left views of a three-dimensional object.

If the right and left views, or top and bottom views, are identical or mirror images of each other, then only one of the views is needed along with a statement that the corresponding view is identical or a mirror image.

A perspective view may also be needed to make the nature of the design clear to the viewer, and a sectional view may be necessary to reveal certain design elements.

Surface shading may be needed to show contours of a surface in a drawing and open versus solid areas. Broken lines can show portions of a patent illustration that aren’t part of the design being claimed. For example, if designed object is meant to connect with another object that already exists, that pre-existing object can be shown with broken lines.

More information about design patents is available on the US Patent and Trademark Office website.

Utility Patents

A utility patent is a patent for a new or improved — and useful — product, process, or machine.

The illustrations for a utility patent must be detailed enough to enable any person “skilled in the art to which it pertains,” or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the claimed invention.

If you’ve ever struggled to assemble something as complex as a bicycle, you know how important good instructions are – and how frustrating bad instructions can be. When you’re submitting patent drawings, you want them to be as clear and detailed as the best instruction manual you’ve even worked with.1866 bicycle patentHowever, some details should NOT be included. Patent drawings aren’t meant to be engineering drawings, and precise measurements are not only unnecessary but counter-productive! If you include precise measurements, then your application could be limited only to an invention in that exact size, and wouldn’t protect you from infringement by products in slightly different sizes.

Again, a good patent drawing is like a manual – not a recipe. You don’t have to provide all the manufacturing specs in the application, any more than Ikea explains to you how that bookcase was manufactured when it’s time for you to put it together.

How Many Drawings Should You Include?

In general, more is better. You don’t want to confuse the patent examiner by skipping over any aspect of the invention.

The cost of high-quality patent illustrations is a relatively modest part of the overall cost of filing a patent, so it doesn’t make sense to skimp and risk having your application rejected.

 

 

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How to Find a Patent Drawing Service That Meets Your Needs https://invention-patent-drawings.com/how-to-find-a-patent-drawing-service-that-meets-your-needs/ Mon, 29 Jul 2019 23:38:51 +0000 https://invention-patent-drawings.com/?p=12608 What criteria do you use to select a patent illustrator?

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As we discussed in this previous blog, patent drawings (also known as patent illustrations) are a required part of most patent applications.

If you’re a patent attorney, you may be looking for a patent illustration firm that can provide you with lower costs, better service, higher quality, or faster turnaround time.

If you’re an inventor filing your first patent application on your own, you may be puzzled about how to get your patent illustrations made.

What criteria can you use to find a patent drawing service that best meets your needs?

Cost

Cost of patent illustrations is only a small part of the overall cost of a patent application.

For example, at Invention Patent Drawings, our prices for a set of patent drawings typically range from $30-60.

Including legal fees, filing a non-provisional patent usually costs between $8,000 and $15,000. Even a very simple patent application can cost $5,000 to $7,000.

A patent illustration firm should be able to give you a fixed price – up front – for how much your patent drawings will cost.

Good patent illustrations can help even a marginal application be accepted by the Patent Office, so it doesn’t pay to cut corners.

Quality

 A poor-quality patent illustration can be a waste of money, as the Patent Office may reject the patent application as a result – possibly allowing a competitor to claim the invention first.

How can you tell whether a patent drawing firm provides high quality – especially if you’re never hired one before?

Check Samples

Ask to see samples that a patent illustration company has done for other clients. Preferably, these should be for inventions similar to your own.  For example, if you’ve invented something as complex as a newcomb illustration hybrid battery, you don’t want to work with someone who’s never illustrated anything more complex than a new style of comb!

(However, even combs can be surprisingly complex, as the following patent illustration shows.)

When reviewing samples, it’s important to ask about who at the firm made them and who will be working on YOUR patent illustrations. Will your work be done by an experienced draftsperson or by someone newly hired?

At Invention Patent Drawings, we’re so confident about our quality that we offer one free drawing for our new clients. Check whether other patent illustration firms will do the same.

Acceptance Rate

Another measure of quality is how often (or rarely) a patent illustration company’s work is accepted by the relevant Patent Office.

A professional patent drawing firm can keep track of statistics like this and let you know how they rate. At Invention Patent Drawings, we’re proud of our 98% acceptance rate.

Keep in mind that a patent application can be rejected for either technical or substantive reasons.

Technical reasons related to patent drawings are discussed in this blog. These technical aspects are largely within the control of the patent illustrator.

However, even the best patent illustration can’t save an application with defective claims, which are the responsibility of the inventor and the patent attorney.

Experience

Be sure to use a patent illustration company with experience doing patent drawings for the specific Patent Office you’re submitting your application to.

Invention Patent Drawings is headed by a patent illustrator with more than 14 years of experience. The company has created more than 5,000 patent drawings for satisfied clients, and most of these drawings have been for application to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Turnaround Time

A patent application must be filed within one year of the date of the first public disclosure of your invention. A “public disclosure” includes things like a sale or an offer to sell the invention.

You don’t have to physically build your invention in order to secure a patent, but your patent application does need to describe it in sufficient detail that a person “skilled in the art” of your technology would be able to actually build one “without undue experimentation.”

That description usually includes detailed patent drawings.

Because the United States is now a “first to file” country (as of the 2011 “America Invents Act” or AIA), it’s important to file a patent application before someone else beats you to it.

Also, it’s very advisable to have your patent application on file before you discuss potentially licensing your invention to anyone, and before you disclose it to potential investors in your company.

Since timeliness is so important, ask your patent attorney about any upcoming deadlines.

When picking a patent illustration firm, ask when you can expect to have your drawings done.  Of course, this will vary depending on the number and complexity of drawings required, but at Invention Patent Drawings we get most drawings done within a week.

Technology Used

In years past, patent drawings were created by hand, using paper and ink. Some are now collected as works of art!

artistic patent drawingNowadays, almost all patent drawings are created using computers and CAD (computer-aided design) software.

CAD software not only produces sharp, clear patent illustrations – it’s also efficient. When an invention includes multiple instances of the same parts (such as gears, for example), those can be copied with just the click of a mouse.

Also, CAD software makes it easy to include views of an invention from multiple angles, and from inside and out, including “exploded” views, as shown in the following example.

cad drawing

Thus, make sure the patent drawing firm you pick uses up-to-date computers and software.

 

Find Out More

To know more about our services and pricing, please send us an email at info@invention-patent-drawings.comor call us at +1-917-508-8816.

 

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