Do provisional patent application require drawings?

Introduction

Protection of invention through patenting assumes even higher importance in a competitive environment.

One exemplary case is of Corona Testing Kit, which has been in great demand all over the world to combat the spread of Coronavirus. Various agencies, both government, private, scientists and doctors are simultaneously working in developing kits to test Coronavirus. Who will be able to obtain the patent for their invention depends upon the speed with which the patent application is filed with the concerned office? Immediate action lies in filing a provisional patent application.

Provisional Patent Application

Provisional patent application is the most important tool to claim the priority date for the invention. According to USPTO, simplified patent application, called as provisional patent application, can be made to it for claiming the patent for the invention, which may be in anticipation of full development of the invention or may not be having the patent claim or may not be even conforming to the other application formatting requirements.

The patent applicant is required to file a  proper patent application complete in all respect within a specified period, usually one year from the filing the provisional patent application. The provisional patent application is then converted into a formal patent application.

Any new material, if added in the subsequently-filed application, will not enjoy the benefit of the provisional application’s filing date. Provisional patent application filed with proper description is the first step to establish the priority towards receiving a patent. There are number advantages of filing a provisional patent application.

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Is it mandatory to enclose patent drawings along with the provisional patent application?

USPTO does not insist to enclose patent drawings along with the provisional patent application. An inventor is always in a hurry to file a provisional patent application to take advantage of priority date. Some inventors are either new to the field of inventions or do not appreciate the need of attaching patent drawings with the patent application.

These inventors might have put tremendous efforts in developing long description of the invention assuming that longer the description better is for understanding the invention and more are the chances of grabbing the patent at a later stage when non provisional application is filed. Such inventors have a wrong notion that a detailed, long, and high sounding words describing invention would impress the patent examiner and prompt him to award the patent.

It is not true. On the other hand, patent examiner may not get the correct understanding of the patent application, whether provisional or non-provisional, with long description loaded with high sounding words. There are every chance that the main points are missed and the patent application is rejected or returned with some queries.

Provisional patent application or non-provisional patent application should always be in simple English and to the point.

They should be supported with the patent drawings, as many in numbers as are required to explain the invention adequately and completely.

It is important to note that US Patent Office (USPTO), under Section 35 U.S.C113 of its “PTO Guide for drawings” suggests that patent drawings are required, if necessary to understand the patent. This provision is clearly an indication for the need for patent drawings with  the patent application whether provisional or non-provisional.

Many inventors have the wrong notion that provisional patent application can be filed without attaching patent drawings as these could be added later. It is incorrect as any addition, if done at a later date, will not be allowed as per the directives of the USTPO.

In view of this, it is important that all the drawings, professionally made, are attached with the provisional patent application in the first place itself for adequately disclosing the invention.

Number and the types of patent drawings

There is no restriction on the number of patent drawings to be submitted. It can be a single drawing or a number of drawings that can help in description or the specifications of the invention. These patent drawings may include simple freehand sketch; plan, elevation and side view, 3D drawings, exploded views, flow charts or even a picture or a video. The purpose of attaching these drawings is only one to make the description and the claims of the invention complete and simple to understand.

The power of patent drawings

Patent drawings are extremely powerful tool to convey the message which even thousands of words may not be able to do. Drawings tell the full story of the invention in a very short-time explaining the internal and external parts or components, arrangement of the parts, operations and many other details which cannot be replaced by words.

The silent communication with the help of patent drawings is the most important aspect that helps the patent examiner to understand the invention and promptly accept the claims made about the invention. Patent drawing act as a winning horse. They are like an onion, each layer of which gives a new information.

Attaching  number of patent drawings with the provisional patent application is a good idea to explain all the important points about the invention and gain advantage. This is particularly important in case of patenting in US, where unlike other countries, patent are given on the principle of “first come-first served”. An inventor filing the patent application first, whether provisional or non-provisional, will be awarded the patent rather than the inventor who might have invented the invention first.

In this case, an inventor prefers to file a provisional patent application without accompanying drawings, that may be damaging his case for granting the patent as patent examiner may find that the patent application is not able to disclose the invention properly. This is where the importance of attaching the patent drawings cannot be over emphasized.

Who should make the patent drawings?

Patent drawings can be made by the inventor himself if he knows how the drawings are to be made in compliance of the requirements of patenting office, in case of US it is USPTO. Most of the time, the inventor is not expert in making drawings and is not knowledgeable about the rule of making the patent drawings.

It is therefore important that the patent drawings are made with the help of professionals and by the professionally trained persons e.g. patent drawing illustrators who are not only expert in identifying the needs of drawings, their number, the types of drawings to support the description and the claims of the invention, but are also equipped with the latest tools and soft wares to produce patent drawings in compliance with the rules and regulations of the patenting authorities.

USPTO has laid down guidelines for the patent drawings specifying the type of paper to be used for making drawing, size of the paper, margin to be used, the size of letters to be written, the location of the label, details to be given in the drawing, ink to be used, thickness of lines used in making the drawings, and many more details which only a professional has the knowledge to do. You can refer to patent drawing rules in detail at Complying with Patent Drawing Rules

Is it economical to use patent drawing illustrator to make the patent drawing?

Using a professional agency is always economical in making the patent drawings. A poor drawing(s) with incomplete details or prepared not in compliance with the guidelines is bound to be returned by the patent examiner, which will take longer time in clarifying the objections made or clarifications sought and will delay the grant of patent. Money lost in this process is many times more than the money to be paid to the patent drawing illustrator.

Conclusion

Patent laws do not make it mandatory to submit patent drawings along with the provisional patent application. It is, however, advised that patent drawings may be attached with the patent application if it is necessary to support the description of the invention and the claims made in the patent application. In practice it is always advisable to attach a set of patent drawings explaining the specifications, functions, operations, and any other details of the invention.

The patent drawing illustrators are the right agencies to prepare professional patent drawings who are experts equipped with the latest tools and have easy excess to the resources that are not easy to afford. In case you have any clarification or need any other help, please – contact us by filling below form.