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Reply To: Different Types Of Broken Lines That Can Be Used In A US Design Patent

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Yes, there is more than one type of line that can be used as described on the following page:

Excerpts from this page from the MPEP:
“The two most common uses of broken lines are to disclose the environment related to the claimed design and to define the bounds of the claim. Structure that is not part of the claimed design, but is considered necessary to show the environment in which the design is associated, may be represented in the drawing by broken lines. This includes any portion of an article in which the design is embodied or applied to that is not considered part of the claimed design.”

So, in other words, the most common type of broken line indicates the environment the device is typically used in or a structural portion of the device that is not claimed. For example, a saddle could be shown in solid lines and a horse that the saddle is on shown in broken lines. Or, if you just wanted to claim the horn on the saddle, it would be shown in solid lines and the rest of the saddle and horse in broken lines.

The second type of broken line can be used to indicate a boundary. A boundary line is used when the device does not have an edge line that can be converted to a broken line. For example, if it was desired to just claim the working end of a sink, it is needed to show where the claimed portion ends and this is when a boundary line is used. See Example below.

The USPTO does not specify the type of broken line that should be used, the user is free to pick the type but the description in the patent should make it clear what each line is representing. The below excerpt is from the MPEP:

” As it is possible that broken lines with different purposes may be included in a single application, the description must make a visual distinction between the two purposes; such as –The broken lines immediately adjacent the shaded areas represent the bounds of the claimed design while all other broken lines are directed to environment and are for illustrative purposes only; the broken lines form no part of the claimed design.–”

As a practical matter, other types of broken lines can be used in design patents and the description should make it clear what their purpose is. For example, a design patent drawing of a shoe might show stitching by the use of a broken line. This stitching is claimed matter as it is part of the shoe design. If this is not mentioned in the description, a patent examiner can easily misunderstand the use of the broken line whose intention was to indicate stitching as unclaimed matter.

  • This reply was modified 8 years, 9 months ago by david.