Summary Section in Patent Application

The Summary section is a brief and general statement of the invention. Not all jurisdictions require a summary of the invention section. However, such sections are customarily prepared in many jurisdictions even when not strictly required by national law.

The Summary section is different from the Abstract, which is directed toward the disclosure as a whole, rather than the subject matter claimed. The Summary section can identify the advantages of the invention and how the invention solves the problems described in the Background section.

In preparing the Summary of the Invention sections, one should avoid providing some sort of overbroad summary that goes beyond the claims in any manner. Such broad summary may invariably suggest additional prior art that can be applied against the invention. Also, such summary vaguely suggests that the claims are not at the fullest scope of the invention and, in turn, could imply that full protection to scope of the inventive disclosure has not been made.

Many practitioners believe that at least the broadest claim should be presented in the Summary section verbatim to avoid any possible problem in meeting the description requirement of patent laws of most jurisdictions, at least with regard to the broadest claim in the invention. Some countries require a one-to-one correspondence between the Summary section and the broadest claims; so using the mentioned approach, the application is already written in a form that is satisfactory for filing in those jurisdictions. A preferred approach is to convert the broadest claim into a series of sentences, using as little legalese as possible, so that the nature of the invention can be appreciated.

It is also a good practice to include in the Summary section anything that is likely to be a basis for arguing the non-obviousness of the invention. Thus, important dependent claims and narrow independent claims specifying important features of the invention should also be summarized in the Summary section.  In some cases, it is also recommended that at least some of the advantages of the invention be discussed in the Summary section.

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