Patents Explained: The Abstract

The abstract is similar to a summary of the patent.  It is intended to let the Patent Office and the public quickly know what the patent is about without having to read the entire patent.  There aren’t hard rules on what the abstract must include, but the PTO does make a number of suggestions on its content.  Abstracts generally track the broadest claim in a patent, but may include additional detail for clarity.  Abstracts cannot be over 150 words, and thus provide a convenient way to understand the invention.