Patent Drawings (Part 2): Tips to Keep Costs Down

October 13, 2023

You may wish to provide your own patent drawings to keep the costs associated with drafting a patent application down. Read this article for some tips on how to make them as good as possible without requiring further revision by a professional.

This is Part 2 of a series. Find Part 1 here for more tips.

Providing your own drawings can be a good way to reduce some of the costs associated with drafting a patent application. However, providing unsuitable drawings will require them to be fixed by your attorney or a professional draughtsman and may end up costing you more.

Part 1 discussed some basic tips for avoiding common pitfalls found in patent drawings. Here are some further tips which you may find useful:

  • The drawings in a patent application need to demonstrate how the invention works, but do not need to be fully realistic images of the product you are selling. In this regard, patent drawings can be reasonably abstract and simple, by avoiding purely aesthetic features and instead showing the invention “stripped down” to its core technical features. This is useful if you do not want fully realistic images of your end product to be published with the patent application. For example, if you wish to subsequently file a registered design application directed towards the aesthetic qualities of the product, a previously-published patent application having the fully realistic images of your end product may jeopardise the novelty of the registered design application. Using abstract, simple, and “stripped down” drawings in the patent application would avoid this.
  • If you have drawings, such as heatmaps or line graphs, which were originally in colour, make sure that reproducing them in black and white preserves the information represented by the colours. For example, if different lines on a line graph were coloured with different colours to identify each line, the colour differences will likely not be preserved when it is reproduced in black and white. Consider in this case changing the lines from coloured lines to different line styles (e.g., solid, dashed, dot-dash, etc.).
  • Photographs are not usually permitted. However, if they are the only practical medium for illustrating the claimed invention (for example, for showing crystalline structures) then ensure that they are clear and reproducible in black and white (the first point above may also be relevant here if the original photographs are in colour).
  • Patent drawings should include as many different views as necessary to show the claimed invention. Views can be plan, elevation, exploded, or perspective. Sectional views are also permitted, but if you chose to include sectional views it may be useful to include an indication of the plane on which the sectional view is taken on the view from which the section is cut by a broken line.

As always, if you have any queries about your drawings, speak to your attorney and they will be happy to help.

For more information on the requirements for patent drawings in the UK please see this UK Intellectual Property Office factsheet.