Many patented devices have drawing to illustrate physical form to support functional claims. If the device is a data-collection system (using existing non-patentable components):

  • Is the physical form of the system irrelevant: there is no reason to draw an example of the embodiment?

The arrangement / interconnection of the components is the patent 'secret sauce': I would think the USPTO expect that this should be drawn to clarify.

  • Is there any other purpose for drawings in this context?

Any questions or suggestions to sharpen the question are appreciated.


The purpose of drawings is to help explain the invention, including ensuring it is enabled. Consequently, you should include any drawings that would be useful for the reader to this end. If no drawings would be useful, then there is no obligation to include any.

If the invention subsists in how the known elements are connected together, then this could well be shown in the drawings. For example, a diagram of components with lines showing connections would be reasonable. Additionally or alternatively, a flow chart showing the steps performed at different components would also be reasonable.

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  • Would an application without drawing stand a chance against US examiners? Afaik they love telling you to include anything mentioned in the claims in a drawing. – DonQuiKong Jan 15 '18 at 10:58
  • @DonQuiKong I can't say I've ever seen it happen... But it's still possible in theory I guess. – Maca Jan 15 '18 at 18:43
  • I wouldn't try ;) – DonQuiKong Jan 15 '18 at 19:34
  • Patents on compositions of matter usually do not have drawings. google.com/patents/US7329302 is an example – George White Jan 18 '18 at 1:56

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