uspto.gov
Skip over navigation

1503    Elements of a Design Patent Application [R-08.2012]

A design patent application has essentially the elements required of an application for a utility patent filed under 35 U.S.C. 101 (see Chapter 600). The arrangement of the elements of a design patent application and the sections of the specification are as specified in 37 CFR 1.154.

A claim in a specific form is a necessary element of a design patent application. See MPEP § 1503.01, subsection III .

A drawing is an essential element of a design patent application. See MPEP § 1503.02 for requirements for drawings.

1503.01   Specification [R-11.2013]

37 C.F.R. 1.153  Title, description and claim, oath or declaration (for applications filed on or after September 16, 2012).

(a) The title of the design must designate the particular article. No description, other than a reference to the drawing, is ordinarily required. The claim shall be in formal terms to the ornamental design for the article (specifying name) as shown, or as shown and described. More than one claim is neither required nor permitted.

(b) The inventor's oath or declaration must comply with the requirements of § 1.63, or comply with the requirements of § 1.64 for a substitute statement.

*****

Pre-AIA 37 C.F.R. 1.153   Title, description and claim, oath or declaration (for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012).

(a) The title of the design must designate the particular article. No description, other than a reference to the drawing, is ordinarily required. The claim shall be in formal terms to the ornamental design for the article (specifying name) as shown, or as shown and described. More than one claim is neither required nor permitted.

(b) The oath or declaration required of the applicant must comply with § 1.63.

*****

37 C.F.R. 1.154   Arrangement of application elements in a design application.

  • (a) The elements of the design application, if applicable, should appear in the following order:
    • (1) Design application transmittal form.
    • (2) Fee transmittal form.
    • (3) Application data sheet (see § 1.76).
    • (4) Specification.
    • (5) Drawings or photographs.
    • (6) Executed oath or declaration (see § 1.153(b)).
  • (b) The specification should include the following sections in order:
    • (1) Preamble, stating the name of the applicant, title of the design, and a brief description of the nature and intended use of the article in which the design is embodied.
    • (2) Cross-reference to related applications (unless included in the application data sheet).
    • (3) Statement regarding federally sponsored research or development.
    • (4) Description of the figure or figures of the drawing.
    • (5) Feature description.
    • (6) A single claim.
  • (c) The text of the specification sections defined in paragraph (b) of this section, if applicable, should be preceded by a section heading in uppercase letters without underlining or bold type.

¶ 15.05    Design Patent Specification Arrangement

The following order or arrangement should be observed in framing a design patent specification:

  • (1) Preamble, stating name of the applicant, title of the design, and a brief description of the nature and intended use of the article in which the design is embodied.
  • (2) Cross-reference to related applications.
  • (3) Statement regarding federally sponsored research or development.
  • (4) Description of the figure or figures of the drawing.
  • (5) Feature description.
  • (6) A single claim.

I.   PREAMBLE AND TITLE

A preamble, if included, should state the name of the applicant, the title of the design, and a brief description of the nature and intended use of the article in which the design is embodied (37 CFR 1.154).

The title of the design identifies the article in which the design is embodied by the name generally known and used by the public but it does not define the scope of the claim. See MPEP § 1504.04, subsection I.A. The title may be directed to the entire article embodying the design while the claimed design shown in full lines in the drawings may be directed to only a portion of the article. However, the title may not be directed to less than the claimed design shown in full lines in the drawings. A title descriptive of the actual article aids the examiner in developing a complete field of search of the prior art and further aids in the proper assignment of new applications to the appropriate class, subclass, and patent examiner, and the proper classification of the patent upon allowance of the application. It also helps the public in understanding the nature and use of the article embodying the design after the patent has been issued. For example, a broad title such as “Adapter Ring” provides little or no information as to the nature and intended use of the article embodying the design. If a broad title is used, the description of the nature and intended use of the design may be incorporated into the preamble. Absent an amendment requesting deletion of the description, it would be printed on any patent that would issue.

When a design is embodied in an article having multiple functions or comprises multiple independent parts or articles that interact with each other, the title must clearly define them as a single entity, for example, combined or combination, set, pair, unit assembly.

Since 37 CFR 1.153 requires that the title must designate the particular article, and since the claim must be in formal terms to the “ornamental design for the article (specifying name) as shown, or as shown and described,” the title and claim must correspond. When the title and claim do not correspond, the title should be objected to under 37 CFR 1.153 as not corresponding to the claim.

However, it is emphasized that, under 35 U.S.C. 112(b) , the claim defines “the subject matter which the inventor or joint inventor regards as the invention” (emphasis added); (or for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, under the second paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112 the claim defines "the subject matter which the applicant regards as his invention"), that is, the ornamental design to be embodied in or applied to an article. Thus, the examiner should afford the applicant substantial latitude in the language of the title/claim. The examiner should only require amendment of the title/claim if the language is clearly misdescriptive, inaccurate, or unclear (i.e., the language would result in a rejection of the claim under 35 U.S.C. 112(b), (or for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph); see MPEP § 1504.04, subsection III). The use of language such as “or the like” or “or similar article” in the title when directed to the environment of the article embodying the design will not be the basis for a rejection of the claim under 35 U.S.C. 112(b), (or for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph). Such language is indefinite when it refers to the area of articles defining the subject matter of the design. An acceptable title would be “door for cabinets, houses, or the like,” while the title “door or the like” would be unacceptable and the claim will be rejected under 35 U.S.C. 112(b), (or for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph). Ex parte Pappas, 23 USPQ2d 1636 (Bd. Pat. App. & Inter. 1992). See also MPEP § 1504.04; subsection III.

Amendments to the title, whether directed to the article in which the design is embodied or its environment, must have antecedent basis in the original disclosure and may not introduce new matter. Ex parte Strijland, 26 USPQ2d 1259 (Bd. Pat. App. & Inter. 1992). If an amendment to the title is directed to the environment in which the design is used and the amendment would introduce new matter, the amendment to the title must be objected to under 35 U.S.C. 132. If an amendment to the title is directed to the article in which the design is embodied and the amendment would introduce new matter, in addition to the objection under 35 U.S.C. 132, the claim must be rejected under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) (or for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112).

Any amendment to the language of the title should also be made at each occurrence thereof throughout the application, except in the oath or declaration. If the title of the article is not present in the original figure descriptions, it is not necessary to incorporate the title into the descriptions as part of any amendment to the language of the title.

¶ 15.05.01    Title of Design Invention

The title of a design being claimed must correspond to the name of the article in which the design is embodied or applied to. See MPEP § 1503.01.

¶ 15.59    Amend Title

For [1], the title [2] amended throughout the application, original oath or declaration excepted, to read: [3]

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert reason.
  • 2. In bracket 2, insert --should be-- or --has been--.

II.   DESCRIPTION

No description of the design in the specification beyond a brief description of the drawing is generally necessary, since as a rule the illustration in the drawing views is its own best description. In re Freeman, 23 App. D.C. 226 (App. D.C. 1904). However, while not required, such a description is not prohibited and may be incorporated, at applicant’s option, into the specification or may be provided in a separate paper. Ex parte Spiegel, 1919 C.D. 112, 268 O.G. 741 (Comm’r Pat. 1919). Descriptions of the figures are not required to be written in any particular format, however, if they do not describe the views of the drawing clearly and accurately, the examiner should object to the unclear and/or inaccurate descriptions and suggest language which is more clearly descriptive of the views.

In addition to the figure descriptions, the following types of statements are permissible in the specification:

  • (A) Description of the appearance of portions of the claimed design which are not illustrated in the drawing disclosure. Such a description, if provided, must be in the design application as originally filed, and may not be added by way of amendment after the filing of the application as it would be considered new matter.
  • (B) Description disclaiming portions of the article not shown in the drawing as forming no part of the claimed design.
  • (C) Statement indicating the purpose of broken lines in the drawing, for example, environmental structure or boundaries that form no part of the design to be patented.
  • (D) Description denoting the nature and environmental use of the claimed design, if not included in the preamble pursuant to 37 CFR 1.154 and MPEP § 1503.01, subsection I.

It is the policy of the Office to attempt to resolve questions about the nature and intended use of the claimed design prior to examination by making a telephone inquiry at the time of initial docketing of the application. This will enable the application to be properly classified and docketed to the appropriate examiner and to be searched when the application comes up for examination in its normal course without the need for a rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112 prior to a search of the prior art. Explanation of the nature and intended use of the article may be added to the specification provided it does not constitute new matter. It may alternately, at applicant’s option, be submitted in a separate paper without amendment of the specification.

  • (E) A “characteristic features” statement describing a particular feature of the design that is considered by applicant to be a feature of novelty or nonobviousness over the prior art (37 CFR 1.71(c)).

This type of statement may not serve as a basis for determining patentability by an examiner. In determining the patentability of a design, it is the overall appearance of the claimed design which must be taken into consideration. In re Rosen, 673 F.2d 388, 213 USPQ 347 (CCPA 1982); In re Leslie, 547 F.2d 116, 192 USPQ 427 (CCPA 1977). Furthermore, the inclusion of such a statement in the specification is at the option of applicant and will not be suggested by the examiner.

¶ 15.47    Characteristic Feature Statement

A “characteristic features” statement describing a particular feature of novelty or nonobviousness in the claimed design may be permissible in the specification. Such a statement should be in terms such as “The characteristic feature of the design resides in [1],” or if combined with one of the Figure descriptions, in terms such as “the characteristic feature of which resides in [2].” While consideration of the claim goes to the total or overall appearance, the use of a “characteristic feature” statement may serve later to limit the claim (McGrady v. Aspenglas Corp., 487 F. Supp. 859, 208 USPQ 242 (S.D.N.Y. 1980)).

Examiner Note:

In brackets 1 and 2, insert brief but accurate description of the feature of novelty or nonobviousness of the claimed design.

¶ 15.47.01    Feature Statement Caution

The inclusion of a feature statement in the specification is noted. However, the patentability of the claimed design is not based on the specified feature but rather on a comparison of the overall appearance of the design with the prior art. In re Leslie, 547 F.2d 116, 192 USPQ 427 (CCPA 1977).

The following types of statements are not permissible in the specification:

  • (A) A disclaimer statement directed to any portion of the claimed design that is shown in solid lines in the drawings is not permitted in the specification of an issued design patent. However, the disclaimer statement may be included in the design application as originally filed to provide antecedent basis for a future amendment. See Ex parte Remington, 114 O.G. 761, 1905 C.D. 28 (Comm’r Pat. 1904); In re Blum, 374 F.2d 904, 153 USPQ 177 (CCPA 1967).
  • (B) Statements which describe or suggest other embodiments of the claimed design which are not illustrated in the drawing disclosure, except one that is a mirror image of that shown or has a shape and appearance that would be evident from the one shown, are not permitted in the specification of an issued design patent. However, such statements may be included in the design application as originally filed to provide antecedent basis for a future amendment. In addition, statements which attempt to broaden the scope of the claimed design beyond that which is shown in the drawings are not permitted.
  • (C) Statements describing matters that are directed to function or are unrelated to the design.

¶ 15.41    Functional, Structural Features Not Considered

Attention is directed to the fact that design patent applications are concerned solely with the ornamental appearance of an article of manufacture. The functional and/or structural features stressed by applicant in the papers are of no concern in design cases, and are neither permitted nor required. Function and structure fall under the realm of utility patent applications.

¶ 15.46.01    Impermissible Descriptive Statement

The descriptive statement included in the specification is impermissible because [1]. See MPEP § 1503.01, subsection II. Therefore, the description should be canceled as any description of the design in the specification, other than a brief description of the drawing, is generally not necessary, since as a general rule, the illustration in the drawing views is its own best description.

Examiner Note:

In bracket 1, insert the reason why the descriptive statement is improper.

¶ 15.60    Amend All Figure Descriptions

For [1], the figure descriptions [2] amended to read: [3]

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert reason.
  • 2. In bracket 2, insert --should be-- or --have been-.
  • 3. In bracket 3, insert amended text.

¶ 15.61    Amend Selected Figure Descriptions

For [1], the description(s) of Fig(s). [2][3] amended to read: [4]

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert reason.
  • 2. In bracket 2, insert selected Figure descriptions.
  • 3. In bracket 3, insert --should be-- or --have been-.
  • 4. In bracket 4, insert amended text.

III.   DESIGN CLAIM

The requirements for utility claims specified in 37 CFR 1.75 do not apply to design claims. Instead, the form and content of a design claim is set forth in 37 CFR 1.153:

37 C.F.R. 1.153   ... claim...

  • (a) ... The claim shall be in formal terms to the ornamental design for the article (specifying name) as shown, or as shown and described. More than one claim is neither required nor permitted.

*****

A design patent application may only include a single claim. The single claim should normally be in formal terms to “The ornamental design for (the article which embodies the design or to which it is applied) as shown.” The description of the article in the claim should be consistent in terminology with the title of the invention. See MPEP § 1503.01, subsection I.

When the specification includes a proper descriptive statement of the design (see MPEP § 1503.01, subsection II), or a proper showing of modified forms of the design or other descriptive matter has been included in the specification, the words “and described” must be added to the claim following the term “shown”; i.e., the claim must read “The ornamental design for (the article which embodies the design or to which it is applied) as shown and described.”

Full lines in the drawing show the claimed design. Broken lines are used for numerous purposes. Under some circumstances, broken lines are used to illustrate the claimed design (i.e., stitching and fold lines). Broken lines are not permitted for the purpose of identifying portions of the claimed design which are immaterial or unimportant. See In re Blum, 374 F.2d 904, 907, 153 USPQ 177, 180 (CCPA 1967) (there are “no portions of a design which are ‘immaterial’ or ‘not important.’ A design is a unitary thing and all of its portions are material in that they contribute to the appearance which constitutes the design.”). See also MPEP § 1503.02, subsection III.

¶ 15.62    Amend Claim “As Shown”

For proper form (37 CFR 1.153), the claim [1] amended to read: “[2] claim: The ornamental design for [3] as shown.”

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert --must be-- or --has been--.
  • 2. In bracket 2, insert --I-- or --We--.
  • 3. In bracket 3, insert title of the article in which the design is embodied or applied.

¶ 15.63    Amend Claim “As Shown and Described”

For proper form (37 CFR 1.153), the claim [1] amended to read: “[2] claim: The ornamental design for [3] as shown and described.”

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert --must be-- or --has been--.
  • 2. In bracket 2, insert --I-- or --We--.
  • 3. In bracket 3, insert title of the article in which the design is embodied or applied.

¶ 15.64    Addition of “And Described” to Claim

Because of [1] -- and described -- [2] added to the claim after “shown.”

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert reason.
  • 2. In bracket 2, insert --must be-- or --has been--.

1503.02   Drawing [R-11.2013]

37 C.F.R. 1.152   Design drawings.

The design must be represented by a drawing that complies with the requirements of § 1.84 and must contain a sufficient number of views to constitute a complete disclosure of the appearance of the design. Appropriate and adequate surface shading should be used to show the character or contour of the surfaces represented. Solid black surface shading is not permitted except when used to represent the color black as well as color contrast. Broken lines may be used to show visible environmental structure, but may not be used to show hidden planes and surfaces that cannot be seen through opaque materials. Alternate positions of a design component, illustrated by full and broken lines in the same view are not permitted in a design drawing. Photographs and ink drawings are not permitted to be combined as formal drawings in one application. Photographs submitted in lieu of ink drawings in design patent applications must not disclose environmental structure but must be limited to the design claimed for the article.

Every design patent application must include either a drawing or a photograph of the claimed design. As the drawing or photograph constitutes the entire visual disclosure of the claim, it is of utmost importance that the drawing or photograph be clear and complete, and that nothing regarding the design sought to be patented is left to conjecture.

When inconsistencies are found among the views, the examiner should object to the drawings and request that the views be made consistent. Ex parte Asano, 201 USPQ 315, 317 (Bd. Pat. App. & Inter. 1978); Hadco Products, Inc. v. Lighting Corp. of America Inc., 312 F. Supp. 1173, 1182, 165 USPQ 496, 503 (E.D. Pa. 1970), vacated on other grounds,462 F.2d 1265, 174 USPQ 358 (3d Cir. 1972). When the inconsistencies are of such magnitude that the overall appearance of the design is unclear, the claim should be rejected under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) and (b), (or for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, 35 U.S.C. 112, first and second paragraphs), as nonenabling and indefinite. See MPEP § 1504.04, subsection I.A.

¶ 15.05.03    Drawing/Photograph Disclosure Objected To

The drawing/photograph disclosure is objected to [1].

Examiner Note:

In bracket 1, insert statutory or regulatory basis for objection and an explanation.

¶ 15.05.04    Replacement Drawing Sheets Required

Corrected drawing sheets in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. Any amended replacement drawing sheet should include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is being amended. The figure or figure number of an amended drawing should not be labeled as amended. If a drawing figure is to be canceled, the appropriate figure must be removed from the replacement sheet, and where necessary, the remaining figures must be renumbered and appropriate changes made to the brief description of the several views of the drawings for consistency. Additional replacement sheets may be necessary to show the renumbering of the remaining figures. If all the figures on a drawing sheet are canceled, a replacement sheet is not required. A marked-up copy of the drawing sheet (labeled as “Annotated Sheet”) including an annotation showing that all the figures on that drawing sheet have been canceled must be presented in the amendment or remarks section that explains the change to the drawings. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either "Replacement Sheet" or "New Sheet" pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d) . If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action.

¶ 15.05.05    Drawing Correction Required Prior to Appeal

Any appeal of the design claim must include the correction of the drawings approved by the examiner in accordance with Ex parte Bevan, 142 USPQ 284 (Bd. App. 1964).

Examiner Note:

This form paragraph can be used in a FINAL rejection where an outstanding requirement for a drawing correction has not been satisfied.

¶ 15.07    Avoidance of New Matter

When preparing new or replacement drawings, be careful to avoid introducing new matter. New matter is prohibited by35 U.S.C. 132 and 37 CFR 1.121(f).

Form paragraph 15.48 may be used to notify applicant of the necessity for good drawings.

¶ 15.48    Necessity for Good Drawings

The necessity for good drawings in a design patent application cannot be overemphasized. As the drawing constitutes the whole disclosure of the design, it is of utmost importance that it be so well executed both as to clarity of showing and completeness, that nothing regarding the design sought to be patented is left to conjecture. An insufficient drawing may be fatal to validity (35 U.S.C. 112(a) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph). Moreover, an insufficient drawing may have a negative effect with respect to the effective filing date of a continuing application.

In addition to the criteria set forth in 37 CFR 1.81-1.88, design drawings must also comply with 37 CFR 1.152 as follows:

I.   VIEWS

The drawings or photographs should contain a sufficient number of views to disclose the complete appearance of the design claimed, which may include the front, rear, top, bottom and sides. Perspective views are suggested and may be submitted to clearly show the appearance of three dimensional designs. If a perspective view is submitted, the surfaces shown would normally not be required to be illustrated in other views if these surfaces are clearly understood and fully disclosed in the perspective.

Views that are merely duplicative of other views of the design or that are flat and include no surface ornamentation may be omitted from the drawing if the specification makes this explicitly clear. See MPEP § 1503.01, subsection II. For example, if the left and right sides of a design are identical or a mirror image, a view should be provided of one side and a statement made in the drawing description that the other side is identical or a mirror image. If the design has a flat bottom, a view of the bottom may be omitted if the specification includes a statement that the bottom is flat and devoid of surface ornamentation. The term “unornamented” should not be used to describe visible surfaces which include structure that is clearly not flat. Philco Corp. v. Admiral Corp., 199 F. Supp. 797, 131 USPQ 413 (D. Del. 1961).

Sectional views presented solely for the purpose of showing the internal construction or functional/ mechanical features are unnecessary and may lead to confusion as to the scope of the claimed design. Ex parte Tucker, 1901 C.D. 140, 97 O.G. 187 (Comm’r Pat. 1901); Ex parte Kohler, 1905 C.D. 192, 116 O.G. 1185 (Comm’r Pat. 1905). Such views should be objected to under 35 U.S.C. 112(b) (or for applications file prior to September 16, 2012, 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph), and their cancellation should be required. However, where the exact contour or configuration of the exterior surface of a claimed design is not apparent from the views of the drawing, and no attempt is made to illustrate features of internal construction, a sectional view may be included to clarify the shape of said design. Ex parte Lohman, 1912 C.D. 336, 184 O.G. 287 (Comm’r Pat. 1912). When a sectional view is added during prosecution, the examiner must determine whether there is antecedent basis in the original disclosure for the material shown in hatching in the sectional view 37 CFR 1.84(h)(3) and MPEP § 608.02.

II.   SURFACE SHADING

While surface shading is not required under 37 CFR 1.152, it may be necessary in particular cases to shade the figures to show clearly the character and contour of all surfaces of any 3-dimensional aspects of the design. Surface shading is also necessary to distinguish between any open and solid areas of the article. However, surface shading should not be used on unclaimed subject matter, shown in broken lines, to avoid confusion as to the scope of the claim.

Lack of appropriate surface shading in the drawing as filed may render the design nonenabling and indefinite under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) and (b), (or for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, 35 U.S.C. 112, first and second paragraphs). Additionally, if the surface shape is not evident from the disclosure as filed, the addition of surface shading after filing may comprise new matter. Solid black surface shading is not permitted except when used to represent the color black as well as color contrast. Oblique line shading must be used to show transparent, translucent and highly polished or reflective surfaces, such as a mirror. Contrast in materials may be shown by using line shading in one area and stippling in another. By using this technique, the claim will broadly cover contrasting surfaces unlimited by colors. The claim would not be limited to specific material either, as long as the appearance of the material does not patentably depart from the visual appearance illustrated in the drawing.

Form paragraph 15.49 may be used to notify applicant that surface shading is necessary.

¶ 15.49    Surface Shading Necessary

The drawing figures should be appropriately and adequately shaded to show clearly the character and/or contour of all surfaces represented. See 37 CFR 1.152. This is of particular importance in the showing of three (3) dimensional articles where it is necessary to delineate plane, concave, convex, raised, and/or depressed surfaces of the subject matter, and to distinguish between open and closed areas. Solid black surface shading is not permitted except when used to represent the color black as well as color contrast.

III.   BROKEN LINES

The two most common uses of broken lines are to disclose the environment related to the claimed design and to define the bounds of the claim. Structure that is not part of the claimed design, but is considered necessary to show the environment in which the design is associated, may be represented in the drawing by broken lines. This includes any portion of an article in which the design is embodied or applied to that is not considered part of the claimed design. In re Zahn, 617 F.2d 261, 204 USPQ 988 (CCPA 1980). Unclaimed subject matter may be shown in broken lines for the purpose of illustrating the environment in which the article embodying the design is used. Unclaimed subject matter must be described as forming no part of the claimed design or of a specified embodiment thereof. A boundary line may be shown in broken lines if it is not intended to form part of the claimed design. Applicant may choose to define the bounds of a claimed design with broken lines when the boundary does not exist in reality in the article embodying the design. It would be understood that the claimed design extends to the boundary but does not include the boundary. When a boundary line is introduced via amendment or in a continuation application, the introduction of the boundary line must comply with the written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112(a) (or for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph). See In re Owens, 710 F.3d 1362, 1366-67, 106 USPQ2d 1248, 1251 (Fed. Cir. 2013). For example, unclaimed boundary lines typically should satisfy the written description requirement where they make explicit a boundary that already exists, but was unclaimed in the original disclosure. See Owens, 710 F.3d at 1368-69, 106 USPQ2d at 1252. Where no boundary line is shown in a design application as originally filed, but it is clear from the design specification that the boundary of the claimed design is a straight broken line connecting the ends of existing full lines defining the claimed design, applicant may amend the drawing(s) to add a straight broken line connecting the ends of existing full lines defining the claimed subject matter where such amendment complies with the written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112(a) (or for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph). Additionally, any broken line boundary other than a straight broken line may constitute new matter prohibited by 35 U.S.C. 132 and 37 CFR 1.121(f).

However, broken lines are not permitted for the purpose of indicating that a portion of an article is of less importance in the design. In re Blum, 374 F.2d 904, 153 USPQ 177 (CCPA 1967). Broken lines may not be used to show hidden planes and surfaces which cannot be seen through opaque materials. The use of broken lines indicates that the environmental structure or the portion of the article depicted in broken lines forms no part of the design, and is not to indicate the relative importance of parts of a design.

In general, when broken lines are used, they should not intrude upon or cross the showing of the claimed design and should not be of heavier weight than the lines used in depicting the claimed design. When broken lines cross over the full line showing of the claimed design and are defined as showing environment, it is understood that the surface which lies beneath the broken lines is part of the claimed design. When the broken lines crossing over the design are defined as boundaries, it is understood that the area within the broken lines is not part of the claimed design. Therefore, when broken lines are used which cross over the full line showing of the design, it is critical that the description of the broken lines in the specification explicitly identifies their purpose so that the scope of the claim is clear. As it is possible that broken lines with different purposes may be included in a single application, the description must make a visual distinction between the two purposes; such as --The broken lines immediately adjacent the shaded areas represent the bounds of the claimed design while all other broken lines are directed to environment and are for illustrative purposes only; the broken lines form no part of the claimed design.-- Where a broken line showing of environmental structure must necessarily cross or intrude upon the representation of the claimed design and obscures a clear understanding of the design, such an illustration should be included as a separate figure in addition to the other figures which fully disclose the subject matter of the design. Further, surface shading should not be used on unclaimed subject matter shown in broken lines to avoid confusion as to the scope of the claim.

The following form paragraphs may be used, where appropriate, to notify applicant regarding the use of broken lines in the drawings.

¶ 15.50    Design Claimed Shown in Full Lines

The ornamental design which is being claimed must be shown in solid lines in the drawing. Dotted lines for the purpose of indicating unimportant or immaterial features of the design are not permitted. There are no portions of a claimed design which are immaterial or unimportant. See In re Blum, 374 F.2d 904, 153 USPQ 177 (CCPA 1967) and In re Zahn, 617 F.2d 261, 204 USPQ 988 (CCPA 1980).

¶ 15.50.01    Use of Broken Lines in Drawing

Environmental structure may be illustrated by broken lines in the drawing if clearly designated as environment in the specification. See 37 CFR 1.152 and MPEP § 1503.02, subsection III.

¶ 15.50.02    Description of Broken Lines

A statement similar to the following should be used to describe the broken lines on the drawing (MPEP § 1503.02, subsection III):

-- The broken line showing of [1] is for the purpose of illustrating [2] and forms no part of the claimed design. --

A statement similar to the one above [3] inserted in the specification preceding the claim.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert name of structure.
  • 2. In bracket 2, insert --portions of the “article”-- or --environmental structure--.
  • 3. In bracket 3, insert --must be-- or --has been--.

¶ 15.50.03    Objectionable Use of Broken Lines In Drawings

Dotted lines or broken lines used for environmental structure should not cross or intrude upon the representation of the claimed design for which design protection is sought. Such dotted lines may obscure the claimed design and render the disclosure indefinite (35 U.S.C. 112).

¶ 15.50.04    Proper Drawing Disclosure With Use of Broken Lines

Where broken lines showing environmental structure obscure the full line disclosure of the claimed design, a separate figure showing the broken lines must be included in the drawing in addition to the figures showing only claimed subject matter, 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph.

¶ 15.50.05    Description of Broken Lines as Boundary of Design

The following statement must be used to describe the broken line boundary of a design (MPEP § 1503.02, subsection III):

-- The broken line(s) which define the bounds of the claimed design form no part thereof.--

IV.   SURFACE TREATMENT

The ornamental appearance of a design for an article includes its shape and configuration as well as any indicia, contrasting color or materials, graphic representations, or other ornamentation applied to the article (“surface treatment”). Surface treatment must be applied to or embodied in an article of manufacture. Surface treatment, per se (i.e., not applied to or embodied in a specific article of manufacture), is not proper subject matter for a design patent under 35 U.S.C. 171. Surface treatment may either be disclosed with the article to which it is applied or in which it is embodied and must be shown in full lines or in broken lines (if unclaimed) to meet the statutory requirement. See MPEP § 1504.01. The guidelines that apply for disclosing computer-generated icons apply equally to all types of surface treatment. See MPEP § 1504.01(a) .

A disclosure of surface treatment in a design drawing or photograph will normally be considered as prima facie evidence that the inventor considered the surface treatment shown as an integral part of the claimed design. An amendment canceling two-dimensional surface treatment or reducing it to broken lines will be permitted if it is clear from the application that applicant had possession of the underlying configuration of the basic design without the surface treatment at the time of filing of the application. See In re Daniels, 144 F.3d 1452, 1456-57, 46 USPQ2d 1788, 1790 (Fed. Cir. 1998). Applicant may remove surface treatment shown in a drawing or photograph of a design without such removal being treated as new matter, provided that the surface treatment does not obscure or override the underlying design. The removal of three-dimensional surface treatment that is an integral part of the configuration of the claimed design, for example, removal of beading, grooves, and ribs, will introduce prohibited new matter as the underlying configuration revealed by this amendment would not be apparent in the application as originally filed. See MPEP § 1504.04, subsection II.

V.   PHOTOGRAPHS AND COLOR DRAWINGS

Drawings are normally required to be submitted in black ink on white paper. See 37 CFR 1.84(a)(1). Photographs are acceptable only in applications in which the invention is not capable of being illustrated in an ink drawing or where the invention is shown more clearly in a photograph (e.g., photographs of ornamental effects are acceptable). See also 37 CFR 1.81(c) and 37 CFR 1.83(c), and MPEP § 608.02.

Photographs submitted in lieu of ink drawings must comply with 37 CFR 1.84(b) . Only one set of black and white photographs is required. Color photographs and color drawings may be submitted in design applications if filed with a petition under 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2). Petitions to accept color photographs or color drawings will be considered by the Primary Examiners as delegated by the TC Director. A grantable petition under 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2) must explain that color drawings or color photographs are necessary because color is an integral part of the claimed design. Any other explanation as to why color drawings or color photographs are necessary will normally not be acceptable. A grantable petition must also be accompanied by: (1) the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(h); (2) three sets of the color photographs or color drawings; and (3) an amendment to the specification inserting the following statement --The file of this patent contains at least one drawing/photograph executed in color. Copies of this patent with color drawing(s)/photograph(s) will be provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.-- See 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2)(iii) and  MPEP § 608.02. If the photographs are not of sufficient quality so that all details in the photographs are reproducible, this will form the basis of subsequent objection to the quality of the photographic disclosure. No application will be issued until objections directed to the quality of the photographic disclosure have been resolved and acceptable photographs have been submitted and approved by the examiner. If the details, appearance and shape of all the features and portions of the design are not clearly disclosed in the photographs, this would form the basis of a rejection of the claim under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) and (b), (or for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, 35 U.S.C. 112, first and second paragraphs), first and second paragraphs, as nonenabling and indefinite.

Photographs and ink drawings must not be combined in a formal submission of the visual disclosure of the claimed design in one application. The introduction of both photographs and ink drawings in a design application would result in a high probability of inconsistencies between corresponding elements on the ink drawings as compared with the photographs.

When filing informal photographs or informal drawings with the original application, a disclaimer included in the specification or on the photographs themselves may be used to disclaim any surface ornamentation, logos, written matter, etc. which form no part of the claimed design. See also MPEP § 1504.04, subsection II.

Color photographs and color drawings may be submitted in design applications if filed with a petition under 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2) . Color may also be shown in pen and ink drawings by lining the surfaces of the design for color in accordance with the symbols in MPEP § 608.02. If the formal drawing in an application is lined for color, the following statement should be inserted in the specification for clarity and to avoid possible confusion that the lining may be surface treatment --The drawing is lined for color.-- However, lining a surface for color may interfere with a clear showing of the design as required by 35 U.S.C. 112(a) (or for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph), as surface shading cannot be used to define the contours of the design.

If color photographs or color drawings are filed with the original application, color will be considered an integral part of the disclosed and claimed design. The omission of color in later filed formal photographs or drawings will be permitted if it is clear from the application that applicant had possession of the underlying configuration of the basic design without the color at the time of filing of the application. See In re Daniels, 144 F.3d 1452, 1456-57, 46 USPQ2d 1788, 1790 (Fed. Cir. 1998) and MPEP § 1504.04, subsection II. Note also 37 CFR 1.152, which requires that the disclosure in formal photographs be limited to the design for the article claimed.

¶ 15.05.041    Informal Color Drawing(s)/Photograph(s) Submitted

Informal color photographs or drawings have been submitted for the purposes of obtaining a filing date. When formal drawings are submitted, any showing of color in a black and white drawing is limited to the symbols used to line a surface to show color (MPEP § 608.02). Lining entire surfaces of a design to show color(s) may interfere with a clear showing of the design as required by 35 U.S.C. 112 because surface shading cannot be used simultaneously to define the contours of those surfaces. However, a surface may be partially lined for color with a description that the color extends across the entire surface; this technique would allow for the use of shading on the rest of the surface showing the contours of the design (37 CFR 1.152). In the alternative, a separate view, properly shaded to show the contours of the design but omitting the color(s), may be submitted if identified as shown only for clarity of illustration.

In any drawing lined for color, the following descriptive statement must be inserted in the specification (the specific colors may be identified for clarity):

--The drawing is lined for color.--

However, some designs disclosed in informal color photographs/drawings cannot be depicted in black and white drawings lined for color. For example, a design may include multiple shades of a single color which cannot be accurately represented by the single symbol for a specific color. Or, the color may be a shade other than a true primary or secondary color as represented by the drafting symbols and lining the drawing with one of the drafting symbols would not be an exact representation of the design as originally disclosed. In these situations, applicant may file a petition to accept formal color drawings or color photographs under 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2).

¶ 15.45    Color Photographs/Drawings As Informal Drawings

For filing date purposes, in those design patent applications containing color photographs/drawings contrary to the requirement for ink drawings or black and white photographs, the Office of Initial Patent Examination has been authorized to construe the color photographs/drawings as informal drawings rather than to hold the applications incomplete as filed. By so doing, the Patent and Trademark Office can accept the applications without requiring applicants to file petitions to obtain the original deposit date as the filing date. However, color photographs or color drawings are not permitted in design applications in the absence of a grantable petition pursuant to 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2). Before the color photographs or color drawings in this application can be treated as formal drawings, applicant must submit [1].

Examiner Note:

In bracket 1, insert --a petition--, --the fee--, --statement in the specification--, --explanation of why color disclosure is necessary--, and -- three full sets of color photographs or color drawings--.

[top]

 

United States Patent and Trademark Office
This page is owned by Patents.
Last Modified: 03/27/2014 10:10:33