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Effective Patent Illustrations

Effective Patent Illustrations

Illustrating Your Invention: Using Drawings and Diagrams to Strengthen Patent Protection

When George Eastman patented his rolled film in 1884 and his rolled film Kodak camera in 1888, his careful drawings vividly depicting the innovative internal components were key to him receiving his patent grants. Without imagery, words alone often fail to adequately convey inventions, undermining patent rights. Like Eastman, all inventors must decide: what visuals will maximize my patent coverage?

According to patent attorneys, the ideal application has effective patent illustrations that:

  • Complement the specification, providing views impossible to portray in text
  • Highlight important invented features from multiple vantage points
  • Use exploded views and cutaways to reveal otherwise hidden components
  • Include generic illustrations of inventive aspects, not just specific implementations
  • Cover various embodiments, configurations, flows, and relationships
  • Are meticulously labeled with comprehensive numbered legends
  • Extend slightly beyond the scope of textual descriptions

As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Well-selected images can make or break an application. Global Patent Solutions helps inventors leverage effective patent illustrations that don’t merely decorate patents – they fortify protection.

Don’t rely on words alone. Be sure illustrations strengthen your patent, conveying key aspects in ways text alone cannot. Because with the right images, you can show – not just tell – what makes your invention unique.


This article is part of a series entitled “A Guide to Protecting Your Innovations”.  To start the series at the beginning, click here.

Next up in our series, we answer the question: “How detailed does the description of the invention need to be?