Good evening all,

How do you distinguish in a drawing two different "features" you want to separately annotate if they are one piece? i.e. "A head portion homogeneously connected by construction to an elongated member". How do you define where one ends and the other begins? Do you break away each piece and explain them? (I've read that can cause one "skilled in the art" to not be able to reproduce your published invention invalidating the patent). Do you use dotted lines that set a boundary for each claimed feature on the drawing and then connect that perimeter to a numbered line? Crosshatching? Advise welcome


1 Answer 1


There is no one way to do this. As long as your drawings, when viewed in light of the description, are clear, there should be no problem.

Thus using a dashed line to artificially divide the piece into the two constituent portions is an entirely reasonable approach. It would also be reasonable to use an exploded view, showing the separate parts, or use cross-hatching on one part in a non-exploded view. Or all of these techniques in different drawings, coupled with clear description, to place the matter beyond doubt.

  • Further to this; Is it appropriate to denote on a drawing an arrow ended line of said portions if you intend to use them as part of a formula intended to be a claim. For example - A + B = C, and C should only be of this "depth" because of reasons . Additionally, can you eliminate B as an if statement? For example if "B" does not contribute to the "depth" in a different embodiment (i.e. because it's parallel to it). How and would you word that in the specifications to be "dohickey depth", then refer to it in the claims? Or would the formula need to be in a claim with all clauses?
    – Lochnivar
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 17:58
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    @Lochnivar Again, there is no one right way. But if I were doing it, I would show the scales on the drawing as A, B, C, and then explain how the values are derived in the description. If you wanted to eliminate one in an embodiment, it might be prudent to include a separate drawing of that to avoid any ambiguity. As for the claims, I fear I can't answer this: it depends entirely on your goals and what you intend your scope to be.
    – Maca
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 22:38
  • Thanks as always Maca. So, it is good practice to place formulas and the "solution(s)" they provide in the detailed description of the drawings? After the objects of the invention, and before the boiler-plating of "terms"? Finally, is it then appropriate to refer to them in a more shorthanded version within the independent claim moving on to the same formula within a dependant claim to fall back onto or is this superfluous? Thanks!
    – Lochnivar
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 2:25
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    @Lochnivar Correct, the detailed description should have as much detail as possible. Indeed, it should be possible to understand it without referring to the drawings at all. Formulas can be in the claims if there is some novelty to them, though almost certainly not in an independent claim.
    – Maca
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 3:40
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    @Lochnivar That's actually not THE standard: it's just one way of doing it. It's equally right (and I would say equally common) to use the same reference number for the same integer in different embodiments. So you would be well within your rights to keep A in each drawing, or to use a different letter in each drawing. Entirely up to you, as long as the description makes it clear.
    – Maca
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 23:19

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