Welcome to the new version of the Patents Manual. Please note there are changes to the numbering and sequence of the chapters and pages in the manual. You are encouraged to take the time to explore and familiarise yourself with this new structure. Abstracts

Date Published

Key Legislation: 

Patents Regulations:

  • reg 3.1 Prescribed documents: patent applications
  • reg 3.3 Abstracts
  • reg 3.4 Substitute abstracts
  • reg 10.3 Amendments not allowable for other documents

Legislative Instruments :

Related Chapters: 

  • RIO Manual Create an Abstract.


A complete application must include an abstract (reg 3.1(1)). If the applicant does not provide an abstract, the examiner needs to draft one.

The abstract must satisfy the requirements of reg 3.3.

Examination practice

Examiner-drafted abstracts

Examiners are required to draft an abstract if the applicant has failed to include one. This is usually done during indexing or for a divisional application.

Refer to the abstract requirements outlined below when drafting an abstract. The procedures for preparing an abstract are outlined in RIO Manual Create an Abstract.

Format and content of abstract


  • Start on a separate page without a page number;

  • Use the heading ‘Abstract’; and

  • Do not use line numbers.


An abstract must satisfy the requirements of reg 3.3, which are similar to the requirements under the PCT. The requirements are:

  • The abstract must concisely summarise the technical disclosure of the complete specification;

  • The preferred length is 50–150 words;

  • The abstract may contain chemical or mathematical formulae and tables. Wherever applicable, it should state the chemical formula that best characterises the invention;

  • Each main technical feature should be followed by the reference sign from its corresponding drawing, placed between parentheses;

  • The abstract must not contain statements about the alleged merits or value of the invention or about its speculative application;

  • It should serve as an efficient scanning tool for searching purposes and allow a reader to assess whether the full specification should be retrieved; and

  • It can be based on a claim, provided it satisfies the other requirements outlined above.

Reviewing and redrafting abstracts


Examiners are not required to formally review an abstract that has been provided by the applicant.


For PCT national phase applications, the abstract should not be redrafted, as it has been established in the international phase.

For national route applications, examiners should only redraft the abstract if it is so poorly drafted that it is does not fulfil its purpose.

Applicant comments on examiner-drafted abstracts

Under regs 3.4(2) and 3.4(3), the applicant must be provided with a draft copy of the abstract and an opportunity to comment.

If the abstract is redrafted before the application is OPI, these requirements are met by:

  • publishing the abstract when the application becomes OPI;

  • giving the applicant one month to provide comments for the examiner to consider; and

  • amended and republishing the abstract if necessary.

If the abstract is redrafted between OPI and acceptance, it is published on acceptance.  

Amendment of abstract

Under reg 10.3(2), amendment of an abstract is not allowable. Examiners should object to a request to amend an abstract and ask the applicant to delete any amendment item relating to the abstract (see also PERP code [K20A]).

If this is the only outstanding objection, examiners should accept the application, but add an ‘Assembly note’ to the file stating that the relevant amendment item has no effect.

Translation of abstract

Any part of the PCT translation that has the heading ‘Abstract’ is not considered part of the Australian complete specification. The abstract to be considered is the one in the PCT pamphlet.

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended

Published for testing

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