Where there is a problem with an abstract, either because it appears to conflict with the source document to which it relates or because it conflicts with other abstracts of the same source document, the search division will proceed as follows:
The source document will be present in the search report as the "&" document of the cited abstract. Where it is available but is in an inaccessible language such as Japanese, both the source document and the abstract will be printed and sent to the applicant and included in the file (see B‑X, 9.1.2). The search division must explain in the search opinion why it considers that there is a conflict.
Where an abstract conflicts with the source document to which it relates, to the extent that the abstract is incorrect it does not form part of the state of the art: the source document on which the abstract is based then forms the state of the art (T 77/87). However, for the purpose of the search report and opinion, an abstract is considered a true representation of the content of the original document, unless the disparity between the two is evident. Being provided with both the abstract and the source document, the applicant will be able to compare both disclosures and reach conclusions about the technical validity of the abstract. The opportunity to refute the above assumption remains available in examination (for example, by providing a translation of the original document).