Anyone here use SolidWorks for creating patent drawings? I'm interested to know how one might hatch surfaces to show curvatures and planes as is commonly done for patent drawings.
I create a DXF and export to Autocad. From past experience, the patent lawyers are extremely picky about line format.
No Phantom, dashed, centerline, when describing surface or edges. Line thickness etc...
Autocad allows for easier free style sketching, deleting of unecessary tangent lines, etc...
You can try it in SW's, just hide unwanted lines, and free style sketch.
It would be great if the US Patent office would get with the times.
with photoshop etc... the drawings would be easier and more descriptive of the part.
Based on your answer, I created an enhancement request. Anyone care to vote on it? I think having the ability to do cradle to grave work in this area would be invaluable. I've worked both sides (as a designer and as a Patent Agent) and I can tell you that it would make the whole process much simpler and cheaper.
I couldn't agree with you more Andrew. Have looked high and low and have not found any software that will do the markings that are acceptable to the patent laywers. The problem is you only get one shot at the patent and the Laywer is afraid to take a chance on bending the rules. It would be nice if Solidworks would do some work on this. Cutaway section views in Isometric views (to show inside parts relationships) could use some work also.
Well, I just got the email that my ER was covered by an existing SPR (#152971, for those of you who might be interested).
I hope this is one that gets incorporated soon, albeit unlikely since it's currently a "medium" impact.
This is me again, after the forum folks couldn't associate my old account with my new e-mail. I am continually frustrated that this issue has not been addressed. I am a patent agent that also does design work using SolidWorks. I would really like to be able to create patent drawings from start to finish using SolidWorks. If anyone has any tips on how to get the sort of surface hatching that patent illustration requires, I would much appreciate learning of your techniques.
I could be wrong but I didn't think there were actually "rules" for how the patent drawings need to look. I just though the surface hatching we all recognize has just sort of become the "industry standard" but is not necessarily required. In the 3 years since I've been with my current employer we have had several patents granted where the attorneys just took images straight from SW drawings, with no surface hatching on curved surfaces and whatever random cross section hatching I decided to throw in. Some threads are cosmetic and some have the threads modeled. The only thing that attorneys changed was adding their own reference numbers with the curvy leaders. Here's an example of one of them that was recently granted. https://www.google.com/patents/US8714433
So maybe you are worrying too much about getting the perfect appearance.
Jamil, that is part of the problem. According to the MPEP there are strict guidelines as to what sort of shading may be used. It is not currently strictly enforced. However, it is desirable both from a vantage point of quality, and of conformance to use the hatched shading to show contour and surfaces.
part of the reason it is not strictly enforced is to allow individual inventors to file drawings on their own behalf. It is an accessibility issue. From a professional standpoint, it shows a distinct lack of quality and attention to detail that is glaringly obvious to anyone in the field of patent illustration.
Why is that a problem? Is there a downside to not being so strict about drawing format, as long as the idea is clear?
Why is preparing quality patent drawings a problem? Because sub-quality is not an option I am interested in producing for my clients.
I meant why is it a problem that the patent office isn't strict about surface hatching? "Quality" is in the eye of the beholder. You might think one type of surface hatching denotes quality, and someone else might think that tangent edges with phantom lines denotes quality, and someone else might think that no hatching or tangent edges looks the best. If the patent office accepts all three types, who cares? Why do you care so much about the one specific style of drawings? I think quality should be judged by how well the details of the invention are conveyed, not by whether the hatch lines are perfectly .00852" thick and exactly .149422" apart.
It's not a problem from an accessibility issue. It's a problem in that it generates confusion as to what is considered conformance to the standard. As I noted, the MPEP denotes what is required. The requirements are, as I noted, being overlooked currently. My desire is to conform to the requirements because it is an indicator of quality. Furthermore, shading is disallowed, so hatching must be used. For complex surface shapes it is important to show the contours of the surface, particularly when producing design patent drawings. It is nearly impossible to show the contours properly without it. In many cases patentability hinges on the shape of the design.
Many practitioners are willing to sacrifice quality to make their services more affordable. Perhaps that was the case in the drawings that were prepared for your patent. Perhaps it was ignorance of the standard. Possibly it was both. Neither is my desire, and if SolidWorks can be a tool that I can use to produce quality patent drawings, it would make my life a lot eaiser. Currently, I am forced to use two different packages. SolidWorks to generate the 3d model and another solution to apply the proper surface hatching. Don't you agree that a simpler solution would be better?
I do agree that it would be better if SW could produce patent-style drawings. I was only trying to point out that if it was too much of a burden to try to reproduce that style then one might consider just doing normal SW drawings, as they can still successfully secure the patent. If I am paying someone to file a patent for me, my number 1 concern would be securing the patent. I wouldn't want to pay them extra just to make pretty "quality" pictures if plain old SW images would work fine. But there are probably a broad range of clients and some may prefer the application to go above and beyond the bare minimums. I suppose the image conformity could potentially be the difference between a certain patent being accepted or declined. Anyway I didn't mean to divert the conversation topic.
Jamil, you're correct that in certain instances what SolidWorks is able to produce already is sufficient. But take for example the attached image. Without surface contour hatching, how are you going to convey the shape. particularly if the shape is important to the claims of the patent? Keep in mind that the gradient shading which is visible in this image is not allowed by the patent office.
That's a good point. Sometimes, however, I think that the surface shading can actually make the images look worse and more confusing. Fer example in the following images I think the shading add absolutely nothing to clarify the shapes and actually clutters the drawing. A lot of the time the shading just makes parts look dirty in my opinion.
Although I am sure a more skilled preparer would have better discretion and use the shading more sparingly when appropriate.
Let's see SW try to do this:
Would you need SW to do this? That is the question.
It seems like we have a Patent Office stuck in the 19th century. No wonder they can't keep up with the flow of patents coming in!
An update: Though not yet resolved, SPR 817697 is indicated as high priority. This issue may finally gain some traction in a future release. That is encouraging.
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