Here is a patent chosen at random that contains the complete set of claims in the "SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION" section. Sometimes this is an "Examples" section at the end. I've also seen "Claim Bank."

They are verbatim copies of the claims except converted to prose. In this example, they haven't converted claim jargon (e.g., "comprising") into plain English (e.g., "including"), but I sometimes see people do that.

What is the purpose of doing this? The claims as filed are a part of the spec and are forever in the prosecution file, even after they've been amended.


3 Answers 3


This is a common practice with some patent drafters. It resulted from some judges taking “the summary of the invention” section as limiting the claims. A few years ago the term patent profanity was coined. It is about words you should not use in the description for fear they will be taken by a judge to override the words of the claims,

“Invention” is the biggest patent profanity. “The invention uses a spring” in the description is taken to implicitly add the word spring to every claim. You might have meant some embodiments use something that has spring-like properties, depending on your careful claim wording to define your rights but a judge reads “has a “spring” into every claim because of your use of “invention”.

This is particularly worrying in the summary. So some people recommend that the summary basically just repeat the claims so there is no room to use the summary wording to misconstrue the claims. Others advocate not including a summary at all.

Reiterating claims elsewhere is not as common. One motivation is the fact that the disclosure, as filed, must support the ultimate claims and people do not appreciate that initially present claims are part of the disclosure.

  • So the bottom line is that it's not necessary, full stop, at least in the US. Are there any concerns with respect to international prosecution?
    – jordanpg
    Commented Feb 2 at 19:23
  • For international prosecution a description often has claim-line wording in the description that includes mix and match combinations of features beyond those in the claims as-filed. The EPO is strict about not amending claims to cover combinations and permutations not initially enumerated.
    – George White
    Commented Feb 3 at 3:21

It seems there is a technique of including an English prose version of the claims in the summary in order to "guarantee" that "antecedent basis" is provided for the claim terms:


While the technique guarantees that every term used in the claims appears in the specification, it is not necessarily linking these terms to a clear meaning for the person of ordinary skill, so I wouldn't use this technique myself.

  • 1
    I agree -- I doubt that the PTO or an appeals court would take seriously the idea that a claim has antecedent basis simply because it is repeated verbatim in the spec. That's not what antecedent basis means.
    – jordanpg
    Commented Feb 3 at 11:40

I believe the reason for including, in the Detailed Description of the Invention, a verbatim copy of the claims is that, during examination, it is easier to avoid certain rejections such as support rejections as well easier to make amendments to the claims (at least for international applications).

I'm not a patent attorney though, I'm just basing my understanding on 18 years of experience in the JP patent industry.

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