To save time, I want to do a USPTO provisional utility patent that includes hand drawn system diagram, software block diagram, and software flowchart.

These will have ALL the same info. as the PowerPoint diagrams that I plan for the eventual non-prov application.

Invention is a printed circuit board (PCB) with special software, the software being the 'heart' of the invention.

  • From reading this question and another one from you, honestly I would suggest you to talk to a patent attorney. The application you would get when doing this yourself would probably be worthless as you seem to have insufficient knowledge about the specific requirements.
    – user18033
    Nov 29, 2016 at 19:55
  • All patents used to be hand drafted. It depends whether you followed the guidelines in the MPEP whether you can use them.
    – 3dalliance
    Nov 29, 2016 at 21:01

2 Answers 2


Yes, hand-drawn diagrams are sufficient.

If the drawings in the utility application are simply better (professional draftsman quality) versions of the hand-drawn ones with no additional information, then this is fine. I have filed provisional applications with hand-made drawings.

Your drawings (and their description) should be as complete as possible in the provisional. Anything you put in the utility (i.e., non-provisional) patent application which differs from the provisional application may not be entitled to the priority date of the provisional. If the Examiner, or an opposing party in a lawsuit, asserts that an aspect or element of your utility application is not supported by your provisional application, you will have to convince the Examiner, or jury, that although the disclosures are not identical, a person having ordinary skill in the art at the time you filed the provisional application would be able to "figure out" the utility from the provisional.

If all the substance is there (as you indicate) in the provisional application drawings, then you can fix the drawing informalities in the utility application drawings. However, you should put exactly the same care and attention to detail into the provisional that you would put into a utility application. Your description in the provisional application should be clear and complete - never leave gaps or weak descriptions in the provisional application to be fixed later in the utility patent application.

Good luck!



The requirements for drawings are spelled out clearly here from the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) Chapter 1800.

Also from the USPTO getting started guide:

This is a relevant drawing citation and cautionary statement:

"Although the application will be accorded a filing date regardless of whether any drawings are submitted, applicants are advised to file with the application any drawings necessary for the understanding of the invention, complying with 35 U.S.C. 113. A drawing necessary to understand the invention cannot be introduced into an application after the filing date because of the prohibition against new matter. Further, 37 CFR 1.53(c) prohibits amendments from being filed in provisional applications which are not required to comply with the patent statute and all applicable regulations."

"It is recommended that the disclosure of the invention in the provisional application be as complete as possible." By your own statements your drawings seem incomplete.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .