MPEP 608.01(b)
Abstract of the Disclosure

This is the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 08.2017, Last Revised in Januay 2018

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608.01(b)    Abstract of the Disclosure [R-07.2015]

37 C.F.R. 1.72 Title and abstract.

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  • (b) A brief abstract of the technical disclosure in the specification must commence on a separate sheet, preferably following the claims, under the heading "Abstract" or "Abstract of the Disclosure." The sheet or sheets presenting the abstract may not include other parts of the application or other material. The abstract must be as concise as the disclosure permits, preferably not exceeding 150 words in length. The purpose of the abstract is to enable the Office and the public generally to determine quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and gist of the technical disclosure.

The Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) will review all applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) for compliance with 37 CFR 1.72 and will require an abstract, if one has not been filed. In all other applications which lack an abstract, the examiner in the first Office action should require the submission of an abstract directed to the technical disclosure in the specification. See Form Paragraph 6.12 (below). Applicants may use either "Abstract" or "Abstract of the Disclosure" as a heading.

If the abstract contained in the application does not comply with the guidelines, the examiner should point out the defect to the applicant in the first Office action, or at the earliest point in the prosecution that the defect is noted, and require compliance with the guidelines. Since the abstract of the disclosure has been interpreted to be a part of the specification for the purpose of compliance with 35 U.S.C. 112 (In re Armbruster, 512 F.2d 676, 678-79, 185 USPQ 152, 154 (CCPA 1975)), it would ordinarily be preferable that the applicant make the necessary changes to the abstract to bring it into compliance with the guidelines. See Form Paragraphs 6.13-6.16 (below).

Replies to such actions requiring either a new abstract or amendment to bring the abstract into compliance with the guidelines should be treated under 37 CFR 1.111(b) practice like any other formal matter. Any submission of a new abstract or amendment to an existing abstract should be carefully reviewed for introduction of new matter, 35 U.S.C. 132, MPEP § 608.04. The abstract will be printed on the patent.

Upon passing the application to issue, the examiner should make certain that the abstract is an adequate and clear statement of the contents of the disclosure and generally in line with the guidelines. If the application is otherwise in condition for allowance except that the abstract does not comply with the guidelines, the examiner generally should make any necessary revisions by a formal examiner’s amendment after obtaining applicant’s authorization (see MPEP § 1302.04) rather than issuing an Ex parte Quayle action requiring applicant to make the necessary revisions.

I.    GUIDELINES FOR THE PREPARATION OF PATENT ABSTRACTS

A.    Background

The Rules of Practice in Patent Cases require that each application for patent include an abstract of the disclosure, 37 CFR 1.72(b).

The content of a patent abstract should be such as to enable the reader thereof, regardless of his or her degree of familiarity with patent documents, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection of the abstract the nature and gist of the technical disclosure and that which is new in the art to which the invention pertains.

B.    Content

A patent abstract is a concise statement of the technical disclosure of the patent and should include that which is new in the art to which the invention pertains. The abstract should not refer to purported merits or speculative applications of the invention and should not compare the invention with the prior art.

If the patent is of a basic nature, the entire technical disclosure may be new in the art, and the abstract should be directed to the entire disclosure.

If the patent is in the nature of an improvement in old apparatus, process, product, or composition, the abstract should include the technical disclosure of the improvement.

Where applicable, the abstract should include the following: (1) if a machine or apparatus, its organization and operation; (2) if an article, its method of making; (3) if a chemical compound, its identity and use; (4) if a mixture, its ingredients; (5) if a process, the steps. Extensive mechanical and design details of apparatus should not be included in the abstract.

With regard particularly to chemical patents, for compounds or compositions, the general nature of the compound or composition should be given as well as the use thereof, e.g., "The compounds are of the class of alkyl benzene sulfonyl ureas, useful as oral anti-diabetics." Exemplification of a species could be illustrative of members of the class. For processes, the type of reaction, reagents and process conditions should be stated, generally illustrated by a single example unless variations are necessary.

C.    Language and Format

The abstract must commence on a separate sheet, preferably following the claims, under the heading "Abstract" or "Abstract of the Disclosure." The sheet or sheets presenting the abstract may not include other parts of the application or other material. Form paragraph 6.16.01 (below) may be used if the abstract does not commence on a separate sheet. Note that the abstract for a national stage application filed under 35 U.S.C. 371 may be found on the front page of the Patent Cooperation Treaty publication (i.e., pamphlet). See MPEP § 1893.03(e).

The abstract should be in narrative form and generally limited to a single paragraph preferably within the range of 50 to 150 words in length. The abstract should not exceed 15 lines of text. Abstracts exceeding 15 lines of text or 150 words should be checked to see that they are as concise as the disclosure permits. The form and legal phraseology often used in patent claims, such as "means" and "said," should be avoided. The abstract should sufficiently describe the disclosure to assist readers in deciding whether there is a need for consulting the full patent text for details.

The language should be clear and concise and should not repeat information given in the title. It should avoid using phrases which can be implied, such as, "This disclosure concerns," "The disclosure defined by this invention," "This disclosure describes," etc.

D.    Responsibility

Preparation of the abstract is the responsibility of the applicant. Background knowledge of the art and an appreciation of the applicant’s contribution to the art are most important in the preparation of the abstract. The review of the abstract for compliance with these guidelines is the responsibility of the examiner. Any necessary amendment to the abstract at the time of allowance or a printer query must be made either by the applicant or by the examiner with applicant’s approval. See MPEP § 1302.04.

E.    Sample Abstracts

(1) A heart valve which has an annular valve body defining an orifice and a plurality of struts forming a pair of cages on opposite sides of the orifice. A spherical closure member is captively held within the cages and is moved by blood flow between open and closed positions in check valve fashion. A slight leak or backflow is provided in the closed position by making the orifice slightly larger than the closure member. Blood flow is maximized in the open position of the valve by providing an inwardly convex contour on the orifice-defining surfaces of the body. An annular rib is formed in a channel around the periphery of the valve body to anchor a suture ring used to secure the valve within a heart.

(2) A method for sealing whereby heat is applied to seal, overlapping closure panels of a folding box made from paperboard having an extremely thin coating of moisture-proofing thermoplastic material on opposite surfaces. Heated air is directed at the surfaces to be bonded, the temperature of the air at the point of impact on the surfaces being above the char point of the board. The duration of application of heat is made so brief, by a corresponding high rate of advance of the boxes through the air stream, that the coating on the reverse side of the panels remains substantially non-tacky. Under such conditions the heat applied to soften the thermoplastic coating is dissipated after completion of the bond by absorption into the board acting as a heat sink without the need for cooling devices.

(3) Amides are produced by reacting an ester of a carbonized acid with an amine, using as catalyst an dioxide of an alkali metal. The ester is first heated to at least 75°C under a pressure of no more than 500 mm. of mercury to remove moisture and acid gases which would prevent the reaction, and then converted to an amide without heating to initiate the reaction.

F.    Form Paragraphs

¶ 6.12    Abstract Missing (Background)

This application does not contain an abstract of the disclosure as required by 37 CFR 1.72(b). An abstract on a separate sheet is required.

Examiner Note:

1. For a pro se applicant, consider following this paragraph with form paragraphs 6.14 to 6.16 as applicable.

2. This form paragraph should not be used during the national stage prosecution of international applications ("371 applications") if an abstract was published with the international application under PCT Article 21.

¶ 6.13    Abstract Objected To

The abstract of the disclosure is objected to because [1]. Correction is required. See MPEP § 608.01(b).

Examiner Note:

1. In bracket 1, indicate the informalities that require correction such as the inclusion of legal phraseology, undue length, etc.

2. For a pro se applicant, this paragraph should be followed by form paragraphs 6.14 to 6.16 as applicable.

¶ 6.14    Abstract of the Disclosure: Content

Applicant is reminded of the proper content of an abstract of the disclosure.

A patent abstract is a concise statement of the technical disclosure of the patent and should include that which is new in the art to which the invention pertains. The abstract should not refer to purported merits or speculative applications of the invention and should not compare the invention with the prior art.

If the patent is of a basic nature, the entire technical disclosure may be new in the art, and the abstract should be directed to the entire disclosure. If the patent is in the nature of an improvement in an old apparatus, process, product, or composition, the abstract should include the technical disclosure of the improvement. The abstract should also mention by way of example any preferred modifications or alternatives.

Where applicable, the abstract should include the following: (1) if a machine or apparatus, its organization and operation; (2) if an article, its method of making; (3) if a chemical compound, its identity and use; (4) if a mixture, its ingredients; (5) if a process, the steps. Extensive mechanical and design details of an apparatus should not be included in the abstract. The abstract should be in narrative form and generally limited to a single paragraph within the range of 50 to 150 words in length.

See MPEP § 608.01(b) for guidelines for the preparation of patent abstracts.

Examiner Note:

See form paragraph 6.16

¶ 6.15    Abstract of the Disclosure: Chemical Cases

Applicant is reminded of the proper content of an abstract of the disclosure.

In chemical patent abstracts for compounds or compositions, the general nature of the compound or composition should be given as well as its use, e.g., "The compounds are of the class of alkyl benzene sulfonyl ureas, useful as oral anti-diabetics." Exemplification of a species could be illustrative of members of the class. For processes, the type of reaction, reagents and process conditions should be stated, generally illustrated by a single example unless variations are necessary.

Examiner Note:

See also form paragraphs 6.12 – 6.14 and 6.16.

¶ 6.16    Abstract of the Disclosure: Language

Applicant is reminded of the proper language and format for an abstract of the disclosure.

The abstract should be in narrative form and generally limited to a single paragraph on a separate sheet preferably within the range of 50 to 150 words in length. The abstract should describe the disclosure sufficiently to assist readers in deciding whether there is a need for consulting the full patent text for details.

The language should be clear and concise and should not repeat information given in the title. It should avoid using phrases which can be implied, such as, "The disclosure concerns," "The disclosure defined by this invention," "The disclosure describes," etc. In addition, the form and legal phraseology often used in patent claims, such as "means" and "said," should be avoided.

Examiner Note:

See also form paragraph 6.12 - 6.15.

¶ 6.16.01    Abstract of the Disclosure: Placement

The abstract of the disclosure does not commence on a separate sheet in accordance with 37 CFR 1.52(b)(4) and 1.72(b). A new abstract of the disclosure is required and must be presented on a separate sheet, apart from any other text.

Examiner Note:

1. 37 CFR 1.72(b) requires that the abstract be set forth on a separate sheet. This requirement applies to amendments to the abstract as well as to the initial filing of the application.

2. This form paragraph should not be used during the national stage prosecution of international applications ("371 applications") if an abstract was published with the international application under PCT Article 21.