Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Design Patent Figures with 3D CAD Software

Similar to a utility patent, a proper design patent application will include (among other components) a description of the design, a claim, and one or more drawings or photographs. Since the drawing disclosure is often considered the most important element of the application, a great deal of care is generally taken when preparing the drawings. For instance, many applicants will enlist the assistance of a draftsman to prepare “formal” drawings. However, the service of a draftsman can be expensive, and we often get asked if there are alternative ways to prepare drawings. In particular, the question is often raised: can 3D CAD images, such as those prepared with SolidWorks, be used to satisfy the drawing requirement? Follow the jump for an answer and analysis.

In contrast to formal line drawings, 3D CAD images often lack broken lines, bold lines, and other artistic stylings that characterize the shape and contour of the depicted design. For purposes of illustration, FIG. 1 shows an example 3D CAD image, and FIG. 2 shows an example formal line drawing prepared by a draftsman. FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 are not images of the same headlight, and are merely provided for illustrative purposes.


As a further example, FIG. 3 shows another 3D CAD image, and FIG. 4 shows a second formal line drawing. FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 are not images of the same automobile, and are merely provided for illustrative purposes.


The short and simple answer is that 3D CAD images are not explicitly prohibited by the U.S.P.T.O., or the applicable rules. The M.P.E.P. does not appear to forbid 3D CAD images, and the C.F.R. vaguely requires black and white reproducible drawings or photographs. However, those planning to file a design patent application with 3D CAD images should proceed at their own risk.

A 3D CAD image, such as a SolidWorks (or similar) image, will likely unnecessarily limit your disclosure, and may make prosecution of your patent application more difficult. For instance, formal line drawings would be advisable if portions of the drawings need to be disclaimed. Also, failure to include bold or broken lines may omit indentations, openings, raised areas, lowered areas, or other important surface details of your design. Lastly, while saving costs up front, 3D CAD images may invite clarity rejections from the patent office, which can result in delays in obtaining protection for your design and increases in prosecution costs.

No comments :

Post a Comment