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USPTO & PCT: Tables In Specification Text And Drawings

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    david
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    By October 16, 2014Patent Office Rules & Regulations
    Certain forms of data are difficult to classify exclusively as “description” or “drawing”: specifically, tables and chemical or mathematical formulae are structured such that their form is important as in a drawing, but their text-based nature also lends them to inclusion within the text of a Specification.

    The PCT allows tables and formulae in the Specification of an application as well as in the Drawings; their primary requirement is that if such elements must be placed on the page in landscape view, that the top of the table or formulae be oriented to the left side of the page when viewed in portrait mode. We follow this guideline by default in all cases where a drawing must be oriented in landscape view on a page.

    PCT Rule 11.10

    11.10 Drawings, Formulae, and Tables, in Text Matter

    (a) The request, the description, the claims and the abstract shall not contain drawings.

    (b) The description, the claims and the abstract may contain chemical or mathematical formulae.

    (c) The description and the abstract may contain tables; any claim may contain tables only if the subject matter of the claim makes the use of tables desirable.

    (d) Tables and chemical or mathematical formulae may be placed sideways on the sheet if they cannot be presented satisfactorily in an upright position thereon; sheets on which tables or chemical or mathematical formulae are presented sideways shall be so presented that the tops of the tables or formulae are at the left side of the sheet.

    The USPTO also allows tables and formulae in either the text Specification or in the Drawings, but in general each such element can only occur in one or the other part of the application — no duplication of a figure between the two sections. Tables and formulae also have their own font-size requirements, but since these are smaller than the requirements for Drawings, we follow the text-size requirements for Drawings.

    USPTO 37 CFR 1.58

    (a) The specification, including the claims, may contain chemical and mathematical formulae, but shall not contain drawings or flow diagrams. The description portion of the specification may contain tables, but the same tables may only be included in both the drawings and description portion of the specification if the application was filed under 35 U.S.C. 371. Claims may contain tables either if necessary to conform to 35 U.S.C. 112 or if otherwise found to be desirable.

    (b) Tables that are submitted in electronic form (§§ 1.96(c) and 1.821(c) ) must maintain the spatial relationships ( e.g., alignment of columns and rows) of the table elements when displayed so as to visually preserve the relational information they convey. Chemical and mathematical formulae must be encoded to maintain the proper positioning of their characters when displayed in order to preserve their intended meaning.

    (c) Chemical and mathematical formulae and tables must be presented in compliance with § 1.52(a) and (b) , except that chemical and mathematical formulae or tables may be placed in a landscape orientation if they cannot be presented satisfactorily in a portrait orientation. Typewritten characters used in such formulae and tables must be chosen from a block (nonscript) type font or lettering style having capital letters which should be at least 0.422 cm. (0.166 inch) high (e.g., preferably Arial, Times Roman, or Courier with a font size of 12), but may be no smaller than 0.21 cm. (0.08 inch) high ( e.g., a font size of 6). A space at least 0.64 cm. (1/4 inch) high should be provided between complex formulae and tables and the text. Tables should have the lines and columns of data closely spaced to conserve space, consistent with a high degree of legibility.

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