Design Guide: IP Drawings

What are IP Protection Design Drawings?

Patent and design drawings are a primary means of communicating a protectable design. Registering product designs accurately is vital for ongoing protection of any unique or novel ideas intended for industrial and commercial use. Design drawings are registered through Intellectual Property Australia, and while the drawings have similarities to engineering drawings, a number of conventions must be adhered to when creating patent and design registration drawings.

Do I need to register?

Firstly, you must consider whether registering your design is appropriate for a product and secondly, if it is correctly presented. Intellectual Property Australia defines a design as, “…the features of a shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation which gives a product unique appearance, and must be new and distinctive.”

Despite Australia not being as specific as the US Patent’s office, there are still strict criteria and drawing conventions to follow. We recommend producing a first draft of drawings based on functionality as quickly as possible and then changing the design as per the patent attorney’s request. As such, you should always check with the client and patent attorney to see if what you have provided is suitable and adjust accordingly.

Some tips and guidelines

Aside from the above, general rules for design registration drawings include:

  • Orthographic views (of all and only faces needed to convey essential elements)
  • Perspective view/s
  • It should sufficiently describe the finished product shape.
  • It needs to be halfway between an engineering drawing and a ‘Bunnings’ style line drawing.
  • It must illustrate product features that move in alternate positions (such as handles) in its most descriptive mode.
  • All dimensions, centrelines, and ‘unnecessary’ tangent lines should be removed.
  • Scale between orthographic views should be consistent, but there is no need to keep to regular or ISO drawing scales. Instead the views should be scaled and arranged to comfortably fit on either an A4 or A3 page (in either landscape or portrait).
  • Line weight should be thin enough to see detail but thick enough that it can’t be reproduced. We recommend 0.5 point.
  • If you are including a mating part or product this should be shown in dotted line.

In terms of our process, we would normally:

  1. Produce a drawing with chosen views from our 3D CAD model (take care to set tangent lines appropriately to avoid excessive editing later).
  2. Save this as a DXF and import it into Adobe Illustrator.
  3. Edit these in a vector-graphics application like Adobe Illustrator to remove unwanted lines, change line weight etc. This is the most time consuming step.
  4. Save as a PDF to send to client/patent attorney.
  5. Check details and views are suitable. If there are additional products/drawings to produce only do these after this format is confirmed.
You can find out more about patent and design registration here.