The Design Publication Quality program was created as a patent quality advancement to improve the image quality of published design patents.
The USPTO received feedback that the images published as part of design patent grants were degraded compared to the images that applicants provided to the Office with initial filings. After investigating this issue, the Office identified a specific conversion process that was mainly responsible for the degraded quality of the images.
On October 4, 2016, the USPTO implemented a new process for publishing design patent grants, which has significantly improved the image quality. An enhancing design patent images example shows the improvement in image quality that the Office gained through this new process; this example shows attire tread image as it would have been published under the old process on the left and the same tire tread image as it is now published under the new process on the right. The Office is also loading these patent grants, with improved images, into the Supplemental Content of the electronic files of our patent application files to allow external stakeholders to download an exact, clear copy of the patent grant images.
Of note, the images on the front page of the patent may not be as clear and as the actual drawing figures in the main portion of the patent due to the necessity of scaling down the images to fit on the front page of the patent.
The Office is currently researching further ways to improve the quality of images in patent grants for both design patents and utility patents, and the Office will continue to work with stakeholders to identify other ways to improve the Office’s products.
If you have questions or comments about improving design patent publication images, email PatentQuality@USPTO.gov.