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1826    The Abstract [R-08.2012]

PCT Rule 8

The Abstract

8.1. Contents and Form of the Abstract

  • (a) The abstract shall consist of the following:
    • (i) a summary of the disclosure as contained in the description, the claims, and any drawings; the summary shall indicate the technical field to which the invention pertains and shall be drafted in a way which allows the clear understanding of the technical problem, the gist of the solution of that problem through the invention, and the principal use or uses of the invention;
    • (ii) where applicable, the chemical formula which, among all the formulae contained in the international application, best characterizes the invention.
  • (b) The abstract shall be as concise as the disclosure permits (preferably 50 to 150 words if it is in English or when translated into English).
  • (c) The abstract shall not contain statements on the alleged merits or value of the claimed invention or on its speculative application.
  • (d) Each main technical feature mentioned in the abstract and illustrated by a drawing in the international application shall be followed by a reference sign, placed between parentheses.

8.2. Figure

  • (a) If the applicant fails to make the indication referred to in Rule 3.3 (a)(iii), or if the International Searching Authority finds that a figure or figures other than that figure or those figures suggested by the applicant would, among all the figures of all the drawings, better characterize the invention, it shall, subject to paragraph (b), indicate the figure or figures which should accompany the abstract when the latter is published by the International Bureau. In such case, the abstract shall be accompanied by the figure or figures so indicated by the International Searching Authority. Otherwise, the abstract shall, subject to paragraph (b), be accompanied by the figure or figures suggested by the applicant.
  • (b) If the International Searching Authority finds that none of the figures of the drawings is useful for the understanding of the abstract, it shall notify the International Bureau accordingly. In such case, the abstract, when published by the International Bureau, shall not be accompanied by any figure of the drawings even where the applicant has made a suggestion under Rule 3.3 (a)(iii).

8.3. Guiding Principles in Drafting

The abstract shall be so drafted that it can efficiently serve as a scanning tool for purposes of searching in the particular art, especially by assisting the scientist, engineer or researcher in formulating an opinion on whether there is a need for consulting the international application itself.

37 C.F.R. 1.438  The abstract.

  • (a) Requirements as to the content and form of the abstract are set forth in PCT Rule 8 , and shall be adhered to.
  • (b) Lack of an abstract upon filing of an international application will not affect the granting of a filing date. However, failure to furnish an abstract within one month from the date of the notification by the Receiving Office will result in the international application being declared withdrawn.

The abstract must consist of a summary of the disclosure as contained in the description, the claims and any drawings. Where applicable, it must also contain the most characteristic chemical formula. The abstract must be as concise as the disclosure permits (preferably 50 to 150 words if it is in English or when translated into English). National practice (see MPEP § 608.01(b) ) also provides a maximum of 150 words for the abstract. See 37 CFR 1.72 (b). The PCT range of 50 - 150 words is not absolute but publication problems could result when the PCT limit is increased beyond the 150 word limit. Maintaining the PCT upper limit is encouraged. As a rule of thumb, it can be said that the volume of the text of the abstract, including one of the figures from the drawings (if any), should not exceed what can be accommodated on an A4 sheet of typewritten matter, 1 1/2 spaced. The abstract of the international application as filed must begin on a new sheet following the claims ( Administrative Instructions Section 207 ). The other physical requirements must correspond to those for the description. The abstract must be so drafted that it can efficiently serve as a scanning tool for the purposes of searching in the particular art. These and other requirements concerning the abstract are spelled out in detail in PCT Rule 8 . Useful guidance can be obtained from the “Guidelines for the Preparation of Abstracts Under the Patent Cooperation Treaty,” published in the PCT Gazette (No. 5/1978). Those Guidelines may be obtained, in English and French, from the International Bureau.

The abstract should be primarily related to what is new in the art to which the invention pertains. Phrases should not be used which are implicit, (for instance, “the invention relates to...”), and statements on the alleged merits or value of the invention are not allowed.

Where the receiving Office finds that the abstract is missing, it invites the applicant to furnish it within a time limit fixed in the invitation. The international application is considered withdrawn if no abstract is furnished to the receiving Office within the time limit fixed. Where the receiving Office has not invited the applicant to furnish an abstract, the International Searching Authority establishes one. The same applies where the abstract does not comply with the requirements outlined in the preceding paragraphs. Where the abstract is established by the International Searching Authority, the applicant may propose modifications of, or comment on, the new abstract until the expiration of 1 month from the date of mailing of the international search report (PCT Rule 38.3 ).


Preferably 50-150 words. Should contain:

  • (A) Indication of field of invention.
  • (B) Clear indication of the technical problem.
  • (C) Gist of invention’s solution of the problem.
  • (D) Principal use or uses of the invention.
  • (E) Reference numbers of the main technical features placed between parentheses.
  • (F) Where applicable, chemical formula which best characterizes the invention.

Should not contain:

  • (A) Superfluous language.
  • (B) Legal phraseology such as “said” and “means.”
  • (C) Statements of alleged merit or speculative application.
  • (D) Prohibited items as defined in PCT Rule 9 .



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Last Modified: 03/27/2014 10:10:33