1

Is there a minimum number of figures required to file a design patent? I see some patents filed with just 1 or 2 figures. Realize that it might not be great to defend the patent with fewer views but wanted to see if my application will get rejected because of it.

2

The USPTO guidance on drawing views is very clear and copied below.

If you were claiming an icon on a computer screen you would most likely have a single view since it is flat with no side, top, back etc.

If one or more surfaces were completely flat that could be conveyed in the text of the description.

The drawings or photographs should contain a sufficient number of views to completely disclose the appearance of the claimed design, i.e., front, rear, right and left sides, top and bottom. While not required, it is suggested that perspective views be submitted to clearly show the appearance and shape of three-dimensional designs. If a perspective view is submitted, the surfaces shown would normally not be required to be illustrated in other views if these surfaces are clearly understood and fully disclosed in the perspective.

Views that are merely duplicates of other views of the design or that are merely flat and include no ornamentality may be omitted from the drawing if the specification makes this explicitly clear. For example, if the left and right sides of a design are identical or a mirror image, a view should be provided of one side and a statement made in the drawing description that the other side is identical or a mirror image. If the bottom of the design is flat, a view of the bottom may be omitted if the figure descriptions include a statement that the bottom is flat and unornamented. The term "unornamented" should not be used to describe visible surfaces that include structure that is clearly not flat. In some cases, the claim may be directed to an entire article, but because all sides of the article may not be visible during normal use, it is not necessary to disclose them. A sectional view which more clearly brings out elements of the design is permissible, however a sectional view presented to show functional features, or interior structure not forming part of the claimed design, is neither required nor permitted.

2

To complement George White's excellent answer, I'd like to focus on the following phrase in the USPTO guidance:

The drawings or photographs should contain a sufficient number of views to completely disclose the appearance of the claimed design...

While it then goes on to suggest front, rear, right and left sides, top and bottom as well as perspective views, one shouldn't take this as a hard requirement. Many objects exhibit symmetry which makes some of those views redundant. I'd like to point to one of the most famous design patents ever, the original Coca Cola bottle. Since the bottle is axisymmetric, only side and bottom views are necessary and shown.

Coke Bottle

Note: image from https://time.com/4105134/coke-bottle/

  • This prompted me to look up the Root Glass Company who was the assignee of this patent. It was apparently inspired by the shape of a Coco bean. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoa_bean and was the winner of a contest Coke conducted. – George White Nov 30 '20 at 22:29

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