The History of Patent Drawings

The history of patent drawings began when the United States Patent & Trade Office (USPTO) began operating in 1790.  At that time every application for a patent had to have an illustration with it.  This illustration had to provide a visual image concerning the details involved with the operation of the invention.  Since the USPTO opened until now, the quality and details of patent illustrations have changed drastically.

When the USPTO opened its Commissioner could ask any patent applicant for additional drawings and diagrams if he felt the description in the application wasn’t clear.  In a few years the number of patent applications became overwhelming for the office.  There was a time when patents were given by simply submitting an illustration and description as well as paying a fee.

The patent illustrations during the 19th century utilized artistic techniques.  They would have proper shading and provide different textures and perspectives.  Many of the illustrations and drawings during this time provided more detail than was necessary.  Many of these illustrations and drawing were considered impressive pieces of art.

Patent drawings up to the 1940s would have intricate line shading and provide images that showed the most minute detail.  This was a time when great care was taken with patent drawings as a way to protect the invention.

During the 1960s much of the artistic efforts seemed to be replaced with providing drawings and illustrations that were more functional.  The shading decreased and the texture provided was less.  It was a time when sharp and well defined lines were combined to show the invention’s details.

During the 1990s patent illustration was created by computer programs.  This enabled people with little or no skill for drawing or illustration to create patent images.  It’s a time when much of the art was removed from creating patent illustration to save both time and money.

In the 21st century the USPTO lowered its patent drawing requirements.  The focus now seems to be more on the details of the application and less on the drawing.  Most patent attorneys agree that the drawing still plays a major rule in obtaining a patent.  They often recommend the drawing be done by a professional.

Inventors have invested a lot of time and money in their creation.  They will want to have their patent drawings done by people who have the knowledge and experience to meet all the illustration requirement of the USPTO.  Contact us today and learn more.

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