With every patent application submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it is required that a form of drawing of the invention accompany it as well. This is to give the USPTO inspector ample information of exactly what they are issuing a patent for. Whether a Provisional or Utility Patent is being sought, a drawing is required. These drawings can range from simple outlines to more elaborate schematics.
According to the USPTO, a drawing must accurately reflect what is being presented for patenting. It must be clear and concise; otherwise the patent process may be held up until a suitable drawing is made available for review. Currently an inventor has two months from the time the patent application is submitted to present an accompanying drawing to the USPTO before having to resubmit a patent application. It is also important to note that once a patent is set in place, no further drawings of said invention will be accepted.
Depending on the complexity of a design, it may be helpful to seek out an engineer who specializes in technical drawings, such as Computer Aided Design (CAD) and/or illustrator to provide dynamic renderings of your idea. While this is not a requirement of the USPTO, having the best representation of the invention not only helps the USPTO inspector providing the patent, but will also protect the patent holder if ever a case should arise where there is a claim of patent infringement. An ounce of professionalism can go a long way.
These drawings may include several views of the invention, as well as descriptive content to outline materials, function and form. In addition to drawings being a requirement of the USPTO, a patent holder may use these to solicit a manufacturer for production. Depending on the detail of the drawings, they may also function as instructions on how an invention is to be constructed.
Whichever route an inventor decides to take, it is important to keep in mind that accurate and professional drawings play an integral role in ensuring proper protection when seeking a patent on their ideas.