Posts Tagged ‘patent illustrations’

Patent Drawings – “Ordinary Skill in the Art”

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

      Last week I introduced this illustration as a typical patent drawing and asked if you could decipher the riddle of its functionality.


food manufacturing equipment patent drawing


      Patent drawings are static, two dimensional (2D) representations of proposed inventions which are meant to be manufactured in three dimensions (3D).   As such they present a lot of complex information on a flat page.

      If you don’t have a clue as to what this machine is, I guarantee you’re not alone.   The average person wouldn’t.   There’s a bunch of lines, shapes and numbers, but what do they signify?   How are they meant to all come together and operate?

      As a matter of fact, the average person isn’t meant to understand patent drawings.   That’s because they’re not what patent courts have defined as a person of ordinary skill in the art, a peculiar term which basically means that the Average Joe or Josephine isn’t meant to be able to interpret them.

      Rather, the interpretation of patent drawings is left to individuals with specialized skills and training, a particular educational background and/or work experience.   These individuals are typically able to view a static 2D image and visualize how the illustrated device moves, how it operates.   Those said to fall within the court’s definition as having ordinary skill in the art are in fact often engineers and scientists.

      Since the average person does not have a background in engineering and science, it can be challenging for patent attorneys to present their cases in the courtroom, particularly when relying on 2D representations alone.   That’s where animations come in.

      Next time we’ll use the magic of animation to transform our cryptic 2D patent illustration into a functional 3D animation of a machine whose operation is easily understood by the average person.