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Chapter 5: The drawings


Drawings, although not essential, may be used to supplement the description of an invention in a patent application. Where drawings are referred to in the description (whether or not they meet the requirements of the Act or Rules), they must be filed on the same date as the description to allow that date to be accorded as the date of filing the application (s.15(3)). Where drawings have not been filed refer to 5.36.


At the preliminary examination stage see chapter 7, the Formalities Examiner will examine the drawings for compliance with the Act and Rules and will judge them to be either “formal” or “informal”. Rule 14 and Schedule 2 (along with the practice changes in [PDN 02/15] – where these differ from the schedule, adhere to the PDN) set out the conditions to be met in order for the drawings to be considered “Formal”. (See Annex 5A - Rule 14 and Schedule 2).

Annex 5A - Rule 14 and Schedule 2


Drawings Rule 14 and Schedule2

Rule 14

(1) Any text must be in English or Welsh

(5) Schedule 2 parts 1 and 3 do not apply to electronically or web filed applications

Schedule 2


(1) A4 matt white paper must be used

(2) Paper must be free from tears, folds or similar damage Contents must be suitable for reproduction

(3) Frames must not be used


(11) Margins must be at least:- Top – 20mm Bottom – 10mm Left – 20mm Right – 15mm

(12) Drawings must be consecutively numbered in one series

(13) Drawings section of the application must begin on a new sheet

(14) Pages of drawings must be consecutively numbered in one series

(15) Drawings must consist of black lines without shading

(16) Drawings can include cross-hatching to illustrate cross sections

(17) Scales must be represented diagrammatically

(18) Drawings must remain clear if reduced by one third

(19) F1, description, claims and abstract must not include drawings

(20) Capital letters in drawings must be more than 3mm high


(21) Only references mentioned in description or claims can be included in drawings

(23) Terminology and references must be consistent throughout the application

(24 &25) Standard units of measurement should be used or equivalent standard international units of measurement should be provided. Only technical terms, signs and symbols which are generally accepted in the field may be used.


* Parts 1 and 3 do not apply to electronically or web filed applications September 2011​


Where electronically filed drawings are of poor quality it is important to check the BLOB to see if the quality of drawings has been lost in the conversion to PDAX. If they are of poor quality and the drawings on the BLOB are found to be acceptable, the FE should either print a copy and scan them back onto the application or re-import the PDF document back onto the application. These then can be marked ‘formal’.

  • the BLOB contains the electronic information filed and can be found by selecting that option from the dropdown menu at the top of the dossier page

Formal drawings


Drawings that meet the requirements as set out above should be annotated in PDAX as ‘formal’.

Informal drawings


Drawings that do not meet the formal requirements as set out above should be annotated in PDAX as ‘informal’.

Electronically filed drawings


For the purposes of filing only, applications which are filed electronically are exempt from many of the formal and other requirements for drawings and documents which apply to paper filed applications. This allows customers to file applications easily by electronic means and obtain a filing date.

Formulae drawings


Drawings containing formulae which appear in the text of the specification are rarely needed. Formulae within the body of the specification is usually sufficient.


When such drawings are supplied by the applicant, the Formalities Examiner should compare the formulae on these sheets against those contained in the specification and bring any discrepancies to the Patent Examiner’s attention. No objection should be raised at the initial formalities examination.


Any questions relating to formulae drawings should be referred in the first instance to the Casework Lead to consider their suitability for publication. Further guidance may be found in MOPP 15A.09 and 14.181.



Photographs are often submitted with the intention that they are used as drawings.


Photographs do not automatically meet the formal requirements for drawings. The FE need only consider whether the figure can be reproduced for publication purposes based on the clarity of the photograph. See PDN 02/15 for further details.

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