I am going to apply for a new Motor patent. I will only use electrical circuit schemes and drawings to explain it. Does microsoft paint suit for drawings? I know I have to use vectoral drawings but I really don't know what it actually means.

If paint is ok, It would be very easy for me. Thanks in advance.

  • Please refer to uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/s1825.html "(a) Drawings shall be executed in durable, black, sufficiently dense and dark, uniformly thick and well-defined, lines and strokes without colorings... yada yada"
    – daniel
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 3:20
  • @daniel If you have an answer, please post it below. Thanks. Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 13:26
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because software recommendation should be directed to softwarerecs.stackexchange.com
    – daniel
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 1:11
  • 2
    I personally think the question is on-topic, as it relates to whether drawings produced by Paint comply with US patent law. Though the latter part is implicit in the question, it's still kind of there.
    – Maca
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 23:10
  • Use Paint.net - it is an open source as far as I remember and does what paint does plus way more and much better. Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 13:11

3 Answers 3


Can I use Microsoft Paint for drawings?


There is no legal restriction on what software you use to produce the drawings initially. As long as the final product complies with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.84 (which basically requires clear line drawings), you should be fine.

Moreover, there is no requirement for vector drawings. While these are moderately common in practice (since there are a lot of technical benefits in preparing drawings in this manner), any line drawing would be fine: even scanned copies of hand-drawn images are ok.

As an aside, while there is no restriction on using Microsoft Paint, there are plenty of free (and paid) software options which you can use that will make your job a lot easier. I use Inkscape personally, but as daniel noted, Software Recommendations has a bunch of questions on this point for whatever your preferred OS is.


Yes you can use MS Paint, but it isn't a good choice. Paint is a painting program which means it edits pixels. Thus its output when printed tends to look blocky and low quality. Much better is a vector drawing application. These print out at high resolution and allow scaling without degradation. If you have access to Microsoft Office, then you will find reasonably useful drawing tools embedded in those applications. I generally find it easier to access them in PowerPoint, although you can find them in Word too. With a painting program once you draw a line, it is hard to change it. With a drawing program, you can draw a line, select the endpoint and move it. You can just as easily change its thickness or add an arrow head. In some programs you can link an endpoint of one line to another object which makes drawing diagrams so much easier to edit. If you've never used a drawing program, a few YouTube videos should get you going.

Inkscape is a totally free open source drawing program you can run on almost any computer. It can absolutely do the job although there is a bit of a learning curve. Dia is a free open source program for drawing diagrams. For people trying to draw mechanical drawings, I've been recommending OnShape which is a free web-based CAD program. Surprisingly capable and much better than SketchUp.

  • As the OP explicitly stated they don't know what vector graphics are, you might want to explain that shortly.
    – user18033
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 15:13
  • @DonQuiKong Added some more content per your suggestion.
    – Eric S
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 17:53
  • +Vector graphics are easily scalable and don't tend to mess up while printing because of some encoding stuff
    – user18033
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 18:16
  • 1
    @DonQuiKong It isn't really a matter of encoding. Drawing programs describe the graphics as equations (the user doesn't see this) which means it aways displays cleanly whether at screen resolution of maybe 75 dpi or printed out at 300+ dpi. Most painting programs like MS Paint are rendered at screen resolution and look bad printed on paper.
    – Eric S
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 18:40

I used MS Paint for my first provisional patent application. One hint is to also get Paint.Net. MS Paint can add a 'fog' of pixels around parts every time you make a change or copy. Running the drawing through Noise reduction a few times in Paint.Net will get rid of this. Paint.Net will also resize images much better. For my second PPA I used SketchUp, which is a 3D modelling or CAD program that you can use to make models. Changing the appearance of these models will make them look like drawings. Use PrintScreen to copy this to MS Paint for the drawings.

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