How to Write a Summary
With thanks to: Swales, John M. and Christine B. Feat. Academic Writing for Graduate Students,
Essential Tasks and Skills. Ann Arbor: U Michigan P, 1994. 105-130.
Preparing to Write: To write a good summary it is important to thoroughly understand the
material you are working with. Here are some preliminary steps in writing a summary.
1. Skim the text, noting in your mind the subheadings. If there are no subheadings, try to
divide the text into sections. Consider why you have been assigned the text. Try to
determine what type of text you are dealing with. This can help you identify important
2. Read the text, highlighting important information and taking notes.
3. In your own words, write down the main points of each section.
4. Write down the key support points for the main topic, but do not include minor detail.
5. Go through the process again, making changes as appropriate.
Global Implications of Patent Law Variation
A patent is an exclusive right to use
an invention for a certain period of time,
which is given to an inventor as compen-
sation for disclosure of an invention.
Although it would be beneficial for the
world economy to have uniform patent laws,
each country has its own laws designed to
protect domestic inventions and safeguard
technology. Despite widespread variation,
patent laws generally fall under one of two
principles: the first-to-file and first-to-
invent. The first-to-file principle awards a
patent to the person or institution that
applies for a patent first, while the first-to-
invent principle grants the patent to the
person or institution that was first to invent –
and can prove it. Most countries have
adopted the first-to-file system. However,
the United States maintains a first-to-invent
system, despite obvious shortcomings. A
result of countries employing different
patent law principles is inconsistency of
This first sentence is a general definition. It
may be safe to assume that your audience is
already familiar with patents; thus you do
not have to include it in your summary.
This is the main idea.
The classification of the two principles is
Ignore specific details about the different
principles. The terms are self-explanatory.
It is important to point out that most of the
world follows one system and the United
Include a description of the problem
surrounding variation in patent laws.
Patent ownership is not recognized
globally. On the contrary, ownership may
change depending on the country. It is not
uncommon for an invention to have two
patent owners – one in the United States and
one in the rest of the world. This unclear
ownership often has economic
consequences. If a company is interested in
using a patented invention, it may be unable
to receive permission from both patent
owners, which in turn may prevent
manufacture of a particular product. Even if
permission is received from both owners,
pay royalties to both may be quite costly. In
this case, if the invention is useful enough, a
company may proceed and pass on the
added cost to consumers.
International economic tension has
also been increasing as a result of differing
policies. Many foreign individuals and
companies believe that they are at a serious
disadvantage in the United States with
regard to patent ownership because of the
logistical difficulties in establishing first-to-
invent status. Further, failure of the United
States to recognize patent ownership in other
countries is in violation of the Paris
Conventions on Industrial Properties, which
requires all member nations to treat all
patents equally. The conflict surrounding
patents has prompted the World Intellectual
Properties Organization (WIPO) to lobby for
universality in patent laws. WIPO maintains
that the first necessary step involves
compelling the United States to reexamine
its patent principle, taking into account the
reality of a global economy. This push may
indeed result in more global economic
Provide some support/explanation for the
problem, but not all the details
Describe this other problem associated with
differing patent principles.
Provide some explanation, but not all the
Describe the action taken to solve the
Writing the Summary:
When writing the summary there are three main requirements:
1. The summary should cover the original as a whole.
2. The material should be presented in a neutral fashion.
3. The summary should be a condensed version of the material, presented in your own
* * Also do not include anything that does not appear in the original. (Do not include your own
comments or evaluation.)
Be sure to identify your source.
In his paper “Global Implications of Patent Law Variation,” Koji Suzuki (1991) states
that lack of consistency in the world’s patent laws is a serious problem. In most of the world,
patent ownership is given to the inventor that is first to file for a patent. However, the United
States maintains a first-to-invent policy. In view of this, patent ownership can change depending
on the country. Multiple patent ownership can result in economic problems; however, most
striking is the international tension it causes. The fact that the United States does not recognize
patent ownership in other countries, in violation of the Paris Convention on Industrial Properties,
has prompted the World Intellectual Properties Organization (WIPO) to push the United States to
review its existing patent law principles.
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