In a patent application, I ran into a statement that a drawing is "a partially schematic and partially diagrammatic view". I had though that schematic views and diagrammatic views are the same thing: simplified sketchy drawing.

I searched for these terms in other patents and found that views could be "schematic diagrammatic", "schematic rather than diagrammatic", etc. though I can't see any difference.

Do these words have any special distinct meanings in patentese?


No, those terms really do not have special distinct meanings in patent law (cf. comprising or consisting of).

Generally however, the term "diagrammatic drawing" might be used for a simplified drawing which somewhat resembles the object, whereas the term "schematic drawing" might indicate something more abstract, having simply boxes or abstract symbols for the elements with lines joining them to indicate relationships between them.

So, language like "schematic rather than diagrammatic" is a defensive measure the drafter uses against a potential infringer trying to argue that the scope of the patent claims should be limited to some particular arrangement in the drawings.

  • Thank you for a clear and detailed answer! By the way, I majored in physics too but wound up as a technical translator. Sep 10 '15 at 20:21

Big difference in electronics. An electrical diagram show the sections of a circuit in a flowchart style without regard to physical space or connection of individual components. A schematic shows (from left to right)the signal path and every individual component in it's relationship to the other components, including it's type, rating, polarity, etc.

One way to clarify the distinction would be that one could not do detailed electrical repairs without a schematic.

  • Although this may be true, I'm not sure it is an answer with respect to patents. Perhaps this would be a better comment?
    – Eric S
    Feb 10 '18 at 0:41

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