The abstract, which is preceded by the title of the invention, contains a concise summary of the disclosure of the invention as contained in the description, claims and drawings .

Abstracts are normally loaded approximately one month after the publication date , although this depends on availability and delivery from the national offices and patent-granting authorities.

An abstract may be a translation into English of the abstract of a published document not originally in English.

In some cases the EPO has translated neither the title nor the abstract into English.

English-language abstracts are available for all patent applications from the PCT minimum documentation and their corresponding documents dating from 1970 onwards, and in some cases even earlier than that.

Corresponding documents are chosen in the order shown below:

  • The EP document in English (where available)
  • The US document (where available)
  • The GB document (where available)

Espacenet contains data on more than 120 million patent documents from around the world.

Within the abstract field, you can search for between one and ten words. If you enter more than one word (e.g. frame bicycle), only those documents will be retrieved in which all the words appear at some point in the abstract.

The highlighting of searched terms is activated by default. To deactivate it, deselect the relevant box under the Settings tab.

In the worldwide database keywords must be entered in English.

You can also search for a term using quotation marks (e.g. "bicycle frame"). This will retrieve only those documents in which the exact phrase is present.

You do not need to type the Boolean operator AND to combine your search words, as it is the default operator in this field.

You can of course use the NOT operator to exclude certain words or the OR operator to add synonyms to your search query.

To extend your search, you can also use truncation symbols (wildcards) to include, for example, the plural form of a word, or alternative spellings.

When searching in abstracts and titles you should avoid using stop words such as FOR, WITH, THE, BUT, AND, OF, ANY, etc.

Diacritical characters (umlauts and accents) and slashes are not allowed when searching titles and abstracts in the worldwide database, so please enter your search terms without them.

Apostrophes ('), hyphens (-) and slashes (/) are not allowed when searching in the worldwide database. Please use blank spaces instead.

To obtain optimum results we recommend searching using a combination of the IPC /CPC classification systems with keyword queries in the abstract fields.

If you click on the red Patent Translate button you will be able to view the text of the abstract in a language other than the one displayed. If the text is in English, it can be translated into one of the supported languages. If it is in a language other than English, it will be translated into English.

The text for translation is sent to specially "trained" machine translation engines, jointly developed by the EPO and Google, where it is processed and returned to the user.

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