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The Rules For Patent Drawings

Rule 1.84 Standards For Drawings


The Rules For Patent Drawings

Graphical Symbols

Numbers, Letters, & Reference Characters

  1. Reference characters (numerals are preferred), sheet numbers, and view numbers must be plain and legible, and must not be used in association with brackets or inverted commas, or enclosed within outlines, e.g., encircled. They must be oriented in the same direction as the view so as to avoid having to rotate the sheet. Reference characters should be arranged to follow the profile of the object depicted.
  2. The English alphabet must be used for letters, except where another alphabet is customarily used, such as the Greek alphabet to indicate angles, wavelengths, and mathematical formulas.
  3. Numbers, letters, and reference characters must measure at least.32 cm. (1/8 inch) in height. They should not be placed in the drawing so as to interfere with its comprehension. Therefore, they should not cross or mingle with the lines. They should not be placed upon hatched or shaded surfaces. When necessary, such as indicating a surface or cross section, a reference character may be underlined and a blank space may be left in the hatching or shading where the character occurs so that it appears distinct.
  4. The same part of an invention appearing in more than one view of the drawing must always be designated by the same reference character, and the same reference character must never be used to designate different parts.
  5. Reference characters not mentioned in the description shall not appear in the drawings. Reference characters mentioned in the description must appear in the drawings.

Lead Lines

Lead lines are those lines between the reference characters and the details referred to. Such lines may be straight or curved and should be as short as possible. They must originate in the immediate proximity of the reference character and extend to the feature indicated. Lead lines must not cross each other.

Lead lines are required for each reference character except for those which indicate the surface or cross section on which they are placed. Such a reference character must be underlined to make it clear that a lead line has not been left out by mistake.

Lead lines must be executed in the same way as lines in the drawing. See > Character of Lines, Numbers, and Letters


Arrows may be used at the ends of lines, provided that their meaning is clear, as follows:
  1. On a lead line, a freestanding arrow to indicate the entire section towards which it points;
  2. On a lead line, an arrow touching a line to indicate the surface shown by the line looking along the direction of the arrow; or
  3. To show the direction of movement.

Copyright or Mask Work Notice

A copyright or mask work notice may appear in the drawing, but must be placed within the sight of the drawing immediately below the figure representing the copyright or mask work material and be limited to letters having a print size of 32 cm. to 64 cm. (1/8 to 1/4 inches) high.

The content of the notice must be limited to only those elements provided for by law. For example, "©1983 John Doe" (17 U.S.C. 401) and "*M* John Doe" (17 U.S.C. 909) would be properly limited and, under current statutes, legally sufficient notices of copyright and mask work, respectively.

Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice will be permitted only if the authorization language set forth in rule § 1.71(e) is included at the beginning (preferably as the first paragraph) of the specification.

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