I am doing drawings for my utility patent, which is a computer process that includes some user feedback in text. I don't know and don't want to limit by specifying exactly what the feedback will be, but I know that it will consist of a set of text values, for example Value1:XXXX, Value2: XXXXX, Value3: XXXXX and so on. I consider that the method of displaying the user feedback is worth a drawing for my invention. Currently, I'm just placing XXXX in the figure where a string of text would be on the display. I know USPTO doesn't like words on the drawings. Is there a/what is the recommended way to represent "there is arbitrary text here whose value does not matter to the invention" in a drawing?

  • They discourage text in drawings due to issues of translation since drawings do not get translated. But almost every patent has text in drawings so do not worry about that.
    – George White
    Apr 19, 2021 at 21:05
  • Hopefully placeholder "xxxx" text especially should be fine.
    – J S
    Apr 19, 2021 at 23:51
  • No need to translate.
    – George White
    Apr 20, 2021 at 0:47

1 Answer 1


I do not think there is a 'recommended way', what you should do is explicitly state that the value/text could be something else as well. So in the drawings you include the text you mentioned or an actual value/text, but in the description you state something like: in Fig. # an exemplary value/text has been represented for the sake of clarity, the disclosure is not limited to the illustrated value/text, other possible values/text are also part of the present disclosure.

The skilled person should know what other value/text could that be based on your disclosure and the common general knowledge in the art. If you do not explicitly state what those other values/text might be, it is unlikely that you will able to include those in the claims in case that may be beneficial for the patentability of the invention.

  • So I could say "Text represented by <placeholder> in figure 2 represents a displayed label, which label may have content pertaining to the data being displayed and is not limited to the text shown in the drawing"?
    – J S
    Apr 19, 2021 at 17:43
  • 1
    @JS Yes. What matters is that you disclose that the represented text is an example and that there are many more alternatives not illustrated but are also encompassed by the disclosure. Apr 19, 2021 at 20:26

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