Date Published

Where the international application lacks a title and/or abstract, the PCT Unit, or the relevant RO (e.g. NZ), should find this in their routine check and notify the applicant accordingly, allowing one month from the mailing date of the notification for a reply. The RO should also notify the ISA that an invitation has been sent. [Rule 37.1, Rule 38.1, PCT/GL/ISPE/8 at para 15.34]

WIPO guidelines for the preparation of abstracts are available at the WIPO internet site.

The adequacy of applicant's abstract and selected figure needs to be considered. [PCT/GL/ISPE/8 at para 15.38,
para 16.33 et seq,  Rule 8, Rule 8.1(a), Rule 8.3]

Because of practical difficulties experienced by the IB with publication, examiners when assessing or drafting abstracts, should have particular regard to the following:

  • it is important that the abstract be as concise as the disclosure permits and that it preferably should not exceed 150 words.

Note:  The abstract must provide a summary of the technical information about the disclosure as contained in the description, claims and drawings. It should be drafted so as to serve as an efficient scanning tool for searching purposes in the art.

  • phrases should not be used which can be implied, such as, "This disclosure concerns", "The invention defined by this disclosure" and "This invention relates to".
  • only one figure should be selected unless this would lead to inadequate disclosure. The inclusion of more than two figures should not be considered except in extreme circumstances where necessary information cannot be otherwise conveyed. Where none of the figures is considered useful for the understanding of the invention (even where the applicant has suggested a figure), then no figure should be selected. [Rule 8.2(b)]
  • abstracts may be incomprehensible if the numerals on the selected figure(s) do not correspond with those in the text.
  • an absence of reference numerals of the figures must be accepted as the search examiner has no mechanism to initiate their provision.

Where an abstract has not been filed with the international application the examiner is not required to draft the abstract, except as in the next paragraph. This prevents time being wasted on preparation of an abstract for an international application that may ultimately be withdrawn.

The examiner is required to draft the abstract where:

  • PCT unit has notified the applicant to rectify the deficiency but the applicant failed to respond within the time limit.
  • no abstract has been filed and PCT Unit or relevant RO has omitted to invite the applicant to rectify the deficiency. The examiner should report the oversight to the PCT Unit which shall either immediately notify the applicant and allow one month for a reply or notify the relevant RO who will notify the applicant. If this one month time limit falls outside the period allowed for the search report to be established, the examiner does not notify PCT Unit but instead drafts the abstract themself. [Rule 26.1, Rule 28.1]
  • the abstract filed either with the international application or within the time limit under Rule 26.2 does not comply with Rule 8.1(a)-(c) [Rule 8, Rule 26.2].  It is office practice that the examiner is not required to draft a new abstract  when reference signs (or parentheses around reference signs) have been omitted from the filed abstract. [Rule 8.1(d)]

It is the office practice that the examiner drafts the abstract although Article 14(1)(b) and the PCT Guideline 16.39 appear to be contradictory in this matter.

The review of the abstract should be conducted in a way that does not increase the elapsed time for completion of the search. This review should be completed in parallel with other steps in the process.

The applicant can only comment on the abstract prepared by the examiner after it has been established in the ISR (see search report form PCT/ISA/210, first sheet, item 5, second option at Annex B ). This is the only invitation to comment issued to the applicant. It occurs when the originally filed abstract does not comply with Rule 8, and the examiner must prepare a more appropriate abstract. In this event the examiner establishes an appropriate abstract and where appropriate submits it for supervision. [PCT/GL/ISPE/8 at para 16.36]

After completing the ISR using form PCT/ISA/210 (Annexes B and C show completed examples) and the ISO (see Completing ISO, IPEO and IPRPII Forms), the search examiner, where appropriate, will submit the report to the person responsible for supervision. See Search Report and Notification Form Completion for final examiner and PCT Unit processing.

The applicant is allowed one month from the date of mailing of the report to respond to the examiner's abstract in the report. [Rule 38.3 PCT/GL/ISPE/8 at para 16.37]

Once the one month (and five days extra time to permit forwarding in case filing is at a sub-office) allowed for comment by the applicant has expired without the applicant commenting, the report including the abstract prepared by this Authority shall be deemed to be established.

If the applicant does comment, the PCT Unit will refer the eCase file, including comment, to the originating section for search examiner consideration.  [PCT/GL/ISPE/8 at para 16.38]

The search examiner should consider the comments received from the applicant and, in consultation with a senior examiner, decide whether the abstract requires amendment. If this Authority does amend the abstract previously established it will notify the IB and the applicant using form PCT/ISA/205. Annex I shows an example of how the search examiner will complete form 205. The PCT unit will despatch copies to both parties on the same date. [Rule 38.3, Ad. Inst. 515, PCT/GL/ISPE/8 at para 16.39]

It is not necessary for the examiner to reply to the applicant's comment even if adverse.