By Dennis Crouch
The chart above shows a histogram of the number of figures included in a set of 90,000 US design patents issued over the past several years. The median number of figures is 7 and the average is 7.3 figures. The typical seven views are typically six orthogonal views and one perspective view. Designs with only one figure are typically surface treatments or screen icons. Microsoft’s recent GUI Design Patent No. D675,221 is shown to the right and appears to show an mapping interface for zooming in and out. In utility patents, the figures are used to flesh-out the disclosure and ensure that the requirements of written description and enablement are met. In design patents, the figures have the additional importance of defining the scope of the patent claim. In that vein, each additional figure may add additional limitations to the scope of coverage.