How to Deal With Common Patent Drawing Rejections

Patent drawings are the graphical representations of the invention described in a patent application. They are one of the most important, yet one of the most ignored aspects of a patent application. In fact, statistics suggest that a large number of patent applications are rejected at the initial stage of examination. These patent rejections may be due to lack of novelty, faulty patent drawings, etc.


The role of a patent drawing is to visually explain the invention since the description of the invention alone cannot explain every detail. Therefore, drawings can be considered as a second language that has the potential to help individuals get the precise picture of the invention. Moreover, as per the patent laws, patent applications should include drawings wherever applicable.


It is important to understand that every nation has its own patent and patent drawing guidelines which must be kept in mind before submitting the formal drawings. Furthermore, the applicant should consult a patent drawing/illustration professional before filing with the concerned PTO of any nation.

The format and the guidelines that are discussed below are universally applicable.

Neat and Crisp drawings

The formal drawings should be neat, clear and should not include any overlays. The example below shows acceptable and unacceptable patent drawing. Notably, the distortion in the drawing (Fig 1.) is the reason for patent drawing rejections.

Unacceptable Drawing_Patent Drawing Rejections
Fig 1. Unacceptable Drawing
Acceptable Drawing
Fig 2. Acceptable Drawing

Sheet Size and Margin Areas

As per the guidelines, two sheet sizes are permitted – A4 size is commonly used (8.27 in x 11.69 in) and US Letter size (8.5 in x 11 in). The margin areas for A4 size sheets and the US Letter size are illustrated below (Fig 3 and Fig 4, respectively). Failure to comply with these guidelines may lead to Office Action.

Sheet Size and Margin Areas

A4 size is the universal size for patent drawings and is applicable in countries like Algeria, Austria, Australia, Argentina, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, PCT and the US.

Photographs and Black & White Line Drawings

Photographs – Color or Greyscale

It is important to understand that not every patent office permits the use of photographs instead of black and white line drawings. However, there are certain jurisdictions such the USPTO, PCT, WIPO and the Indian Patent Office that allow the use of photographs on rare occasions.


The photographs can be used if that is the only practical medium to disclose the invention. For instance, photographs can be used for cell diagrams, microorganisms, etc., as they cannot be shown using line drawings. Two types of photographs that are permitted are colored and grey. However, the USPTO allows colored photographs on rare occasions whereas PCT and WIPO allow only grey photographs.

Black and White Line Drawings 

Most PTOs prefer and accept black and white drawings.

Black and White Drawing_Patent Drawing Rejections

Font Style and Size

A formal drawing contains several elements such as numbers, letters, and reference characters. The guidelines for these elements are universal. As per the guidelines, the font should be uniform in style and size. Furthermore, it must be oriented in the same direction as the view and should not cross, intersect or overlap with the lines. But most importantly, the height of the text size should be at least 0.32 cm.

Arrangement of Views and their Numberings


The patent drawing should incorporate as many views as necessary to demonstrate the invention. The views that are applicable in drawings are as follows:

  1. Perspective View
  2. Front View/ Elevation
  3. Rear View
  4. Right Side View
  5. Left Side View
  6. Top View/ Plan
  7. Bottom View
  8. Isometric View
  9. Detailed View/ Enlarged View
  10. Partial View
  11. Sectional View
  12. Partial Sectional View
  13. Exploded View
  14. Assembled View

The views numbered 1 to 7 are the standard requirement for design patent applications. For utility designs, all the views from the list are applicable.

2. Numbering Pages and Figures

After placing the views, they should be numbered in consecutive Arabic numerals e.g. drawing 1 should be marked as FIG. 1, drawing 2 as FIG. 2 and so on. The text on the page should be in the same direction for both Portrait and Landscape. Furthermore, the text height should be at least 0.32 cm.

The requirement for PDF creation for EFS-Web

EFS-Web is the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) new easy-to-use, web-based patent application and document submission solution. EFS-Web utilizes standard web-based screens and prompts to enable you to submit patent drawings in PDF or image formats directly to the USPTO within minutes.

The formal patent drawings should have a minimum resolution of 300 dots per inch (DPI). The EFS portal can reject less than 300 DPI.


According to the patent laws, an applicant must furnish patent drawing/illustration of the invention wherever applicable. An invention is always better explained when the description is supplemented with a detailed illustration. Sagacious IP’s Patent Drawings and Illustrations Service offers patent drawings. We draft illustrations keeping in mind the patent drawing rules of the concerned PTOs to avoid patent drawing rejections. This includes utility patent drawings and design patent drawings that can represent the invention in detail.

Know more about the service – Patent Drawings/ Illustrations and watch our webinar – Rejection Proof Patent Illustrations: 10 ways to Ensure.

– Hemant Kumar (Illustration) and the Editorial Team

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