Patent Drawings: Are They Subject to Copyright Protection?

Murtha Cullina

When filing a patent application, often a drawing is required if it is deemed necessary for understanding the subject being patented. The drawing must show all the invention’s features being specified in the application. Under 37 CFR § 1.84 there are specific requirements that must be followed for any submitted drawings.

Oftentimes patent application drawings are featured on private websites or within marketing materials, leading many to question whether doing so is considered copyright infringement. Applicants are permitted to mark patent drawings with a copyright notice pursuant to 37 CFR §1.71(d) & (e). The regulation provides that an Applicant seeking a copyright notice over a drawing must place the notice immediately below the figure and within sight of the drawing. See 37 CFR §1.84(s). The required notice must state the following...

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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