Guidelines for Writing an Abstract from the Indian Patent Office

First Publication Date: 1st November 2009
According to Section 10(4)(d) of The Indian Patent Act, every complete specification shall include an abstract section to provide technical information on the invention.
According to Rule 13(7) of The Patent Rules, the abstract section shall begin with the title of the invention. The abstract shall also indicate the technical field of the invention, the technical problem the invention solved by the invention, how the invention solves the mentioned problem and the use(s) of the invention. If a chemical formula is an essential part of the invention, the abstract shall also contain the chemical formula. Also, a reference figure has to be mentioned in the abstract. If any element/feature is mentioned in the abstract and is also present in the reference figure, then the element/feature in the abstract shall be followed by a reference indication, which may be a sign or a number.
A further restriction is that the abstract shall not be more than 150 words, including the figure number.
As per the Patent Office Procedure; which came into effect from July 1, 2009; the individual in charge of the classification of the patent application; which is done before the publication of the patent application; shall verify whether the abstract meets the above mentioned criteria. In case the abstract does not meet the above mentioned criteria, the above mentioned individual shall send a notification to the applicant/agent of the patent application providing a period of three months for the applicant/agent to amend the abstract accordingly, so as to meet the above mentioned criteria. The patent application is withheld from publication, till the abstract is amended accordingly.
The above guidelines become important in light of the fact that the publication of a patent application comprises of the bibliographic information, title and the abstract. While performing a search on the Indian patent database, a decision by a person searching on whether a patent is relevant or not depending only on the abstract.
Currently, as the guidelines for the abstracts were not enforced, abstracts in some cases comprised of only the titles, a few irrelevant words. In such cases, a person is not able to decide on the relevance of a patent to his search based on a sketchy abstract.
Hence, the new guidelines go a long way towards making a search among Indian patents easier.

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