Friday, March 22, 2019

What Type of Drawings for PPA?

Dear Rich: I have created a very simple product with very few components. I am in the process of preparing a PPA [provisional patent application]. Will the USPTO accept photographs that explicitly show the product and how it functions and is made instead of drawings? 
There are no rules for provisional patent application illustrations (referred to as "drawings"), except that they must be understandable and fit in a regular file folder. You can use black-and-white or color photographs, computer-created drawings, or handmade drawings. But whatever method you use, your drawings should -- as yours do --  explain how to make and use your invention.
The reality is: The USPTO will accept just about anything that is submitted as a PPA. That's because provisional patent applications are not examined on their merits. The only time they are likely to be read and evaluated is if (1) within one year you file a regular patent application (RPA), and (2) the RPA results in a patent, and (3) a competitor challenges your claim to the earlier filing date of the PPA. The chances of meeting all three criteria are rare. Even so, prepare your PPA drawings diligently. Making the drawings  -- whether schematics, photos, or pen and ink -- can help you visualize, and sometimes improve your invention. For more information on patent drawings and PPAs, check out our book, Patent Pending in 24 Hours.

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