The rules that apply to a patent application are many and varied, and even the opportunity to visually explain your idea comes with its own guidelines. Following all the rules for U.S. patent drawings isn’t easy, and preparing them is an art in itself.

Including drawings with your patent application is usually essential to convey how your invention works. But there’s so much more to it than just sketching out your design. Like every other part of the patent application, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has strict requirements that will need to followed to ensure your patent makes it through.

Drafting success

Each drawing in a patent application needs to follow specific rules:

  • Substrates: Each drawing sheet needs to be white paper, with printing in black ink. It also needs the correct margins, which vary between the sides, and no lines can fall outside that area. Black and white photographs are acceptable in rare circumstances, but they’ll still need to stay in-bounds.
  • Outlines: There’s no freehand here. Lines will need to be bold, deliberate, and uniform while maintaining clarity even when the USPTO subjects them to resizing.
  • Symbols and characters: You’ll need to clearly label your drawing with English numerals, Greek numerals for things like mathematical formulas, and Arabic numerals for differentiating multiple figures. These symbols can’t be less than 0.32 cm tall, and they must maintain a uniform purpose throughout your application.

These are just the basics. It takes over 1,600 words to explain all the rules. Ensuring your patent gets the stamp of approval can be challenging and making sure the patent drawings stay within the lines is crucial.