The USPTO requires drawings of an invention to accompany a patent application whenever necessary for someone to understand the invention. Professional drawings can also be used to help develop prototypes and to show your invention to its best advantage.
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While drawings are not strictly required for all U.S. patent applications, they are required for any application when necessary for the USPTO examiner to understand your invention. In practice, this means that almost every application needs drawings--even those containing a process or method.
If you do not include drawings in your provisional application for patent, the USPTO may have trouble determining whether the invention disclosed in your provisional application and any corresponding nonprovisional application is the same or similar enough for you to receive your priority filing date. In short, no application should be submitted without drawings.
Provisional applications for patent do not have strict requirements for drawings. However, using a professional technical illustrator can create more accurate drawings for your invention, helping you best communicate your invention to the USPTO if and when the time comes for your provisional application to be compared to a nonprovisional filing.
Nonprovisional utility patent applications have much stricter requirements, such as the scaling of images, types of views, and formatting of pages. Insufficient drawings may cause your application to be considered incomplete and no application filing date will be granted by the USPTO until your drawings are completed to its satisfaction. LegalZoom's professional technical illustrators can create drawings of your invention that will meet USPTO requirements.
The USPTO has very specific rules governing the appearance of technical drawings accompanying patent applications. Generally, the USPTO will require drawings in black. Color drawings are permitted only if necessitated by the invention and are typically not permitted with electronic filings. Photographs are acceptable only if drawings are insufficient, as may be the case for particular molecular structures, for example.
After you complete our online questionnaire, we will ask you to send us the following information to complete your drawings:
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