The Application

The abstract

5.137 Section 25(3) requires that an application for a patent contain an abstract, and Rule 22 prescribes specific requirements pertaining to the abstract. In particular, the Rule states that the abstract should, inter alia, contain a concise summary of the disclosure, said summary indicating the technical field to which the invention belongs, and be drafted in such a way which allows a clear understanding of the technical problem to which the invention relates, the gist of the solution of that problem through the invention, and the principal use or uses of the invention.

5.138 Rule 22(9) specifies the intended purpose of the abstract, which is to constitute an efficient instrument for the purposes of searching in the particular technical field, in particular by making it possible to assess whether there is a need to consult the specification of the application itself. The scope of the abstract, and the words used in it, should therefore be selected to ensure that retrieval from electronic databases would be likely when searching similar applications at a later date.

5.139 In cases where the abstract submitted by the applicant does not fufil its purpose, the Examiner is empowered by the Registrar, under Section 25(7), to revise the abstract so that it does. In doing so, he should consider not only the text of the abstract, but also the selection of the figure(s) for publication with it (Rule 22(7)). However, the Examier should avoid seeking an amendment of the abstract from the applicant, since the abstract does not form part of the specification under examination (see paragraph 7.62).

5.140 The checklist provided in the “WIPO Codes and Guidelines” (Standard ST.12/A) would serve as a useful guide for the writer or reviser of an abstract. It indicates that, provided that the specification contains the information, the abstract should include the following:

a) where the invention is an article, its identity, use, construction, organisation and method of manufacture;

b) where the invention is a chemical compound, its identity (structure if appropriate), method of preparation, properties and uses;

c) where the invention is a mixture, its nature, properties, use, essential ingredients (identity, function), proportions of ingredients (if significant), and preparation;

d) where the invention is a machine, apparatus or system, its nature, use, construction, organisation and operation;

e) where the invention is a process or operation, its nature and characterising features, material and conditions employed, product (if significant), and the nature of a relationship between the steps, if more than one.

In particular, the content of the abstract should be determined by the new technical disclosure of the whole specification rather than by only the inventive concept of the claims.

5.141 Rule 22(5) specifies that the abstract should be as concise as the disclosure permits and should normally not contain more than 150 words.