Rules for Submitting Drawings and Photos to the US Patent Office

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Can I submit photos and drawings to the US patent office?

Rules for Submitting Drawings and Photos to the US Patent Office

Just as there are rules regulating how written documentation is submitted in a US government patent office application, there are rules governing both drawings and photos as well. First, there are two ways to submit drawings: in black and white or in color ink. Color drawings should only be submitted if color is the only way to illustrate the subject matter, and they must be of sufficient quality that all details can be reproduced clearly in black and white.

Photographs can also be submitted but only if they, too are the only practical way to make your claim. Don't submit photos just because they make your product look good. This will not help your chances of obtaining a patent. Chemical or mathematical formulas can be submitted in drawing form if the above conditions apply. Any drawing submitted should contain as many views of the invention as are necessary to adequately make the claim.

You can also use detailed views of portions of your invention. When you scale your drawing, it must be large enough to show the item when it is reduced to two-thirds its actual size in reproduction. Make sure all lines in drawings will retain quality when reproduced. When numbering pages of drawings, use consecutive numerals beginning with 1 and do not place them in the margin.

After reading all these rules on photographs and drawings--and many more exist--it's easy to understand why many inventors get help with submitting an application to the US Patent and Trademark Office. You can also glean much information from the office's website, uspto.gov. Give your patent application several reviews before you send it in to ensure you have followed every rule or your application can be significantly delayed.

   

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