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Tag: design patent

Design Patent Drawings

What are design patent drawings and how many are required for Design Patent Applications?

While the USPTO has various rules for drawings that are included for Utility Patent Applications, the rules for Design Patent drawings are especially important to follow. Failure to follow them exactly may require significant expense in justifying modification or even risk the abandonment of your invention.

General Rules on Format

Generally, Design Patent drawings should be drawn as solid black-and-white line drawings with what is known as “proper surface shading”. Importantly, features not intended to be claimed should be unshaded and have dotted lines. For instance, a new mug handle might include a properly shaded and solid line drawing for the handle portion, with dotted and unshaded portions for the cylindrical mug. A thorough guide to drafting compliant drawings is available on the USPTO’s website.

More Specific Formatting Considerations

As mentioned above, surfaces should be shaded. Shading should illustrate the character and contour of the surfaces of any 3D features of the design to be patented. Environmental portions, or those portions not intended to be claimed in the patented design, are not shaded and should be represented with broken or dotted lines.

Some Exceptions

The USPTO does allow black-and-white photographs to be submitted instead of drawings, but only when photographs are the only practicable way to illustrate the invention’s design. See 37 C.F.R. § 1.84(a)(2). Color photos/drawings must be filed along with a petition under the same C.F.R. section. The petition must explain why the inventor must submit color photos/drawings and/or why they are necessary to show the invention. In addition, the applicant must include three sets of the proposed color photos/drawings and the specification section of the application must include the following statement:

The patent or application file contains a least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) will be provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.

How Many Drawings are Required?

The general rule is seven drawings. Essentially, any 3D item would have views in correlation to the sides of a dice – a front, back, left, right, top, and bottom. The seventh drawing is normally a perspective, such as slightly above and to one side, looking down. If an invention is quite symmetrical, an eighth drawing might help ensure there aren’t any issues during examination. Professional patent artists often use techniques that easily convert CAD drawings into each required view, requiring only minor edits. This can significantly reduce this burden on the inventor.

If you want to protect your ornamental design with a Design Patent, it’s important to keep these special rules for Design Patent Applications in mind. Since you’ll need to prepare important documents and proper drawings are crucial to turning your application into a patent, you should consider hiring a patent attorney. If you’d like our help or have any questions before filing, please call Grell & Watson Patent Attorneys for a free consultation.


Timing of Filing Design and Provisional Patent Applications

Filing Design and Provisional Patent Applications – Inventors wishing to file utility patents often secure a priority date by first filing Provisional Patent applications. These applications focus squarely on what the inventor has documented, and don’t require some of the formalities of a Non-Provisional Patent application. Since Provisional Patent applications aren’t examined, this means an inventor can file an application and receive a priority date for their patent without the need for an oath or declaration, an Information Disclosure Statement (IDS), and other formal application requirements. As long as the inventor files a Non-Provisional Patent application within 1 year of their Provisional filing, swearing priority to the Provisional Patent application, intervening publications cannot be cited as prior art against the inventor’s application.

Filing Design and Provisional Patent ApplicationsUnder 35 U.S.C. § 172, however, only Non-Provisional utility patent applications may swear priority to an earlier filed Provisional Patent application. Therefore, if ornamental design is a prominent feature of an invention, the provisional filing date may not be used as a placeholder for priority. So if both useful features and ornamental design aspects of an invention are important to the overall marketing and proprietary features of it, inventors should consider filing a design patent application in addition to filing a Provisional Patent Application. This can be done either simultaneously or by filing a Design Application soon after the filing of a Provisional Patent Application. That way, the ornamental features can receive a level of patent protection and share its priority date with respect to products sold or publications by others when it comes time for the USPTO to examine each application. Otherwise, products released or publications by others, and even the inventor’s own publications or sales, may become novelty defeating prior art against the inventor’s design application and the inventor may risk not being able to protect their ornamental features.

Filing Design and Provisional Patent Applications

One other consideration must be taken into account in regard to foreign applicants wishing to protect their ornamental designs within the US. Under the same section of patent law, 35 U.S.C. § 172, foreign applicants claiming priority in a US Design Patent Application to a foreign application, must file their application within six-months of filing their foreign application for the same design in order to use their foreign priority date in their US application. This shortened time period for international applicants means they should take special care regarding these deadlines if ornamental features are being protected.

If you have a useful invention that also features a unique ornamental design, it’s important to keep these special design patent rules in mind. Since you’ll need to prepare important documents and critical dates are crucial to turning your application into a patent, you should consider hiring a patent attorney. If you’d like our help or have any questions before filing, please call Grell & Watson Patent Attorneys for a free consultation.

Call Patent Attorney Richard Piercy at  (678) 383-4886.  Email