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IP Overview | Patents | IP Glossary

IP glossary

 

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]

 

Term

Definition

Context

general
infotech
patent
trademark

abstract of the disclosure

A concise statement of the technical disclosure including that which is new in the art to which the invention pertains - see MPEP 608.01(b) for more

p

agent (patent)

(may be referred to as a practitioner or representative) - one who is not an attorney but is authorized to act for or in place of the applicant(s) before the Office, that is, an individual who is registered to practice before the Office. -- See 37 CFR 10.6 and the searchable online Patent Attorney Agent Roster

p

AIPA

American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 -- see MORE

p

applicant

inventor or joint inventor who are applying for a patent on their own invention, or the person mentioned in 37 1.42, 1.43 or 1.47 who is applying for a patent in place of the inventor. See 37 CFR 1.41 and MPEP 605 See also inventor.

p

application (patent) 

a nonprovisional utility patent application must include a specification, including a claim or claims; drawings, when necessary; an oath or declaration; and the prescribed filing fee.

p

application number (patent)

the unique number assigned to a patent application when it is filed. The application number includes a two digit series code and a six digit serial number

p

attorney

(may be referred to as a practitioner or representative) - an individual who is a member in good standing of the bar of any United States court or the highest court of any State and who is registered to practice before the Office. -- See 37 CFR 10.1(c); 10.6(a); and 10.14(a) and the searchable online Patent Attorney Agent Roster

p

bio-sequence listings

a document that must be included only if a nucleotide or amino acid sequence is part of the invention. With the electronic filing system , paper documents are not required for bio-sequence or subsequent bio-sequence submissions.

p

BPAI

Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences

p

certificate of mailing

a certificate for each piece of correspondence mailed, prior to the expiration of the set period of time for response, stating the date of deposit with the U.S. Postal Service and including a signature

p

CFR

Code of Federal Regulations - see MORE INFO

g

Chapter I

the first, mandatory phase under the Patent Cooperation Treaty that includes performance of an international-type search, issuance of an International Search Report, and publication of the application and Search Report by the International Bureau of WIPO

p

Chapter II

the second, optional phase under the Patent Cooperation Treaty that includes examination of the international application and issuance of an International Preliminary Examination Report.

p

CIP

Continuation-in-Part

an application filed during the lifetime of an earlier nonprovisional application, repeating some substantial portion or all of the earlier nonprovisional application and adding matter not disclosed in the earlier nonprovisional application -- see MPEP 201.08 for more

p

claims

define the invention and are what are legally enforceable. The specification must conclude with a claim particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the applicant regards as his invention or discovery. The claim or claims must conform to the invention as set forth in the remainder of the specification and the terms and phrases used in the claims must find clear support or antecedent basis in the description so that the meaning of the terms in the claims may be ascertainable by reference to the description. (See 1.58(a)). -- see MPEP 608.01(i) for more

p

coinventor

an inventor who is named with at least one other inventor in a patent application, wherein each inventor contributes to the conception of the invention set forth in at least one claim in a patent application.-- see MPEP 2137.01, also joint application, joint inventor.

p

common law rights

property or other legal rights that do not absolutely require formal registration in order to enforce them. Proving such rights for a trademark in court can be very difficult, requires meticulous documentation, and places a heavy burden on the individual. Active Federal registration of trademark can provide a higher degree of legal protection and readily-demonstrated evidence of ownership of a mark.

g

Contracting State

a national Office or an intergovernmental organization which is party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

p

Continuation 

a second application for the same invention claimed in a prior nonprovisional application and filed before the first application becomes abandoned or patented -- see MPEP 201.07 for more

p

Continuing application

a continuation, divisional, or continuation-in-part patent application

p

Control No.

unique number assigned to a patent reexamination request when it is filed, having a 2-digit series code (90 for ex parte reexamination requests; 95 for inter partes reexamination requests), and a 6-digit control number.

p

copyrights

protect works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed. The Library of Congress registers copyrights which last for the life of the author plus 70 years.

g

CPA

Continued Prosecution Application

a continuation or divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(d) -- see MPEP 201.06(d) for more

p

customer number

(previously referred to as "payor number") - a number assigned by the Office that is used to simplify the submission of an address change, to appoint a practitioner, or to designate the fee address for a patent. Customer numbers are primarily used by attorneys and law firms, and must be requested using the "Request for Customer Number" form (PTO/SB/125). -- see 37 CFR 1.33(a), 1.76 and MPEP 403 for more

p

dead

a dead or abandoned status for a trademark application means that specific application is no longer under prosecution within the USPTO, and would not be used as a bar against your filing. It does not necessarily mean that there are not other marks that the trademark examining attorney would cite. It is also possible to revive an abandoned application (for example, if the USPTO declared the application abandoned for failure of the applicant to respond to an Office action, but the applicant later proved that a response was sent and the USPTO simply failed to match it with the file in a timely manner, then the case could be revived). Also, regardless of the status of an application within the USPTO, the owner may still claim common law rights.

t

deceased inventor

a named inventor who has died prior to the filing of a patent application or during the prosecution of a patent application. See 37 CFR 1.42 and MPEP 409

p

Demand

Form PCT/IPEA/401, filed with an International Preliminary Examining Authority, demanding that an international application shall be the subject of an international preliminary examination.

p

dependent claim

a claim that refers back ("depends on") to and further limits a preceding dependent or independent claim. A dependent claim shall include every limitation of the claim from which it depends.

p

design patent application

an application for a patent to protect against the unauthorized use of new, original, and ornamental designs for articles of manufacture -- see also nonprovisional patent application

p

design patent

may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture -- see also patent

p

designation

an indication made by applicant, in the Request for an International Application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, as to the Contracting States in which protection for an invention is desired.

p

disclosure

in return for a patent, the inventor gives as consideration a complete revelation or disclosure of the invention which protection is sought --see MPEP 608 for more

p

disclosure document

a paper disclosing an invention (called a Disclosure Document) and signed by the inventor or inventors that has been forwarded to the USPTO by the inventor (or by any one of the inventors when there are joint inventors), by the owner of the invention, or by the attorney or agent of the inventor(s) or owner. The Disclosure Document will be retained for two years, and then be destroyed unless it is referred to in a separate letter in a related patent application filed within
those two years. -- see MPEP 1706 for more about the disclosure document program

p

divisional application

a later application for an independent or distinct invention disclosing and claiming (only a portion of and) only subject matter disclosed in the earlier or parent application. --see MPEP 201.06 for more

p

DO

Designated Office

the national Office or intergovernmental organization of or acting for the Contracting State designated by the applicant under Chapter I of the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

p

election (PCT)

an indication made by applicant, in the Demand for an International Application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, as to the Contracting States in which applicant intends to use the results of the international preliminary examination.

p

element

a discretely claimed component of a patent claim

p

embodiment

a manner in which an invention can be made, used, practiced or expressed

p

enforceability of patent

the right of the patent owner to bring an infringement suit against a party who, without permission, makes, uses or sells the claimed invention. The period of enforceability of a patent is the length of the term of the patent plus the six years under the statute of limitations for bringing an infringement action. -- see 35 USC 286-296

p

EO

Elected Office - the national Office or intergovernmental organization of or acting for the Contracting State elected by the applicant under Chapter II of the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

p

EPO

European Patent Office

g

express mail mailing label

patent correspondence delivered to the USPTO via the "Express Mail Post Office to Addressee" service of the United States Postal Service (USPS) which is considered filed in the Office on the date of deposit with the USPS, shown by the "date-in" on the "Express Mail" mailing label.

p

express mail mailing label

The filing date for Trademark documents is not the same as for patent documents - see Trademarks express mail for specific guidance

t

File Wrapper Continuing Application

File Wrapper Continuing application

a continuation, continuation-in-part, or divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.62*, which uses the specification, drawings and oath or declaration from a prior nonprovisional application, which is complete as defined by 37 CFR 1.51(a)(1) -- see MPEP 201.06(b) for more
* NOTE: 37 CFR 1.62 was deleted effective December 1, 1997. See 1203 OG 63,
October 21, 1997.

p

Group

(also referred to as a Technology Center or TC) - a unit of several Group Art Units in the mechanical, electrical, chemical or design area, managed by one or more Group Directors. Groups are more properly referred to as Technology Centers, or TCs.

p

Group Art Unit

(may be abbreviated "AU," "GAU" or "Grp Art Unit" on Office correspondence) - a working unit responsible for a cluster of related patent art. Staffed by one supervisory patent examiner (SPE) and a number of patent examiners who determine patentability on applications for a patent. Group Art Units are identified by a four digit number, i.e., 1642.

p

home copy

a copy of an international application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty maintained by the receiving Office where the international application was filed.

p

independent claim

a claim that does not refer back to or depend on another claim.

p

intellectual property

patents, trademarks, copyrights or trade secrets

g

interference

a proceeding, conducted before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (Board), to determine priority of invention between a pending application and one or more pending applications and/or one or more unexpired patents -- see MPEP 2300 for more

p

international application

an application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

p

invention

any art or process (way of doing or making things), machine, manufacture, design, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, or any variety of plant, which is or may be patentable under the patent laws of the United States. -- see 37 CFR 501.3(d) for more

p

inventor

one who contributes to the conception of an invention. The patent law of the United States of America requires that the applicant in a patent application must be the inventor. See also applicant.

p

IP

intellectual property

g

IPEA

International Preliminary Examining Authority - either a national Office or an intergovernmental organization whose tasks include the establishment of examination reports on inventions which are the subject of international applications.

p

IPER

International Preliminary Examination Report (Form PCT/IPEA/409), produced by an International Preliminary Examining Authority, is a preliminary and non-binding opinion on whether the invention claimed in an international application appears to be novel, to involve an inventive step (to be non-obvious), and to be industrially applicable.

p

ISA

International Search Authority - either a national Office or an intergovernmental organization whose tasks include the establishment of documentary search reports on prior art with respect to inventions which are the subject of international applications.

p

ISR

International Search Report (Form PCT/ISA/210), produced by an International Searching Authority, is a report listing citations of published documents that might affect the patentability of the invention claimed in an international application.

p

ITU

Intent to Use - see MORE INFO

t

joint application

an application in which the invention is presented as that of two or more persons -- see MPEP 201.02 and MPEP 605.07 for more; also joint inventor

p

joint inventor

an inventor who is named with at least one other inventor in a patent application, wherein each inventor contributes to the conception of the invention set forth in at least one claim in a patent application. See MPEP 2137.01 See also coinventor.

 

kind codes 

WIPO Standard ST. 16 codes (kind codes) include a letter, and in many cases a number, used to distinguish the kind of patent document (e.g., publication of an application for a utility patent (patent application publication), patent, plant patent application publication, plant patent, or design patent) and the level of publication (e.g., first publication, second publication, or corrected publication). Detailed information on Standard ST. 16 and the use of kind codes by patent offices throughout the world is available on the WIPO web site at http://www.wipo.int/scit/en, under the links for WIPO standards and other documentation.

p

maintenance fees

fees for maintaining in force a patent based on an application filed on or after December 12, 1980 --see MPEP 2500 for more

p

MPEP

Manual of Patent Examining Procedure

p

multiple dependent claim

a dependent claim which further limits and refers back in the alternative to more than one preceding independent or dependent claim. Acceptable multiple dependent claims shall refer to preceding claims using the terms "or, any one of, one of, any of, either." A multiple dependent claim may not depend on another multiple dependent claim, either directly or indirectly. -- see 37 CFR 1.75 and MPEP 608.01(n).

p

national stage application

an application which has entered the national phase of the Patent Cooperation Treaty by the fulfillment of certain requirements in a national Office, which is an authority entrusted with the granting of national or regional patents. Such an application is filed under 35 U.S.C. 371 in the United States and is referred to as a "371 application."

p

nonprofit organization

for purposes of small entity determination per MPEP 509.02 - (1) a university or other institution of higher education located in any country; (2) an organization of the type described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)) and exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501(a)); (3) any nonprofit scientific or educational organization qualified under a nonprofit organization statute of a state of this country (35 U.S.C. 201(i)); or (4) any nonprofit organization located in a foreign country which would qualify as a nonprofit organization under paragraphs (e) (2) or (3) of MPEP section 509.02 if it were located in this country -- see MPEP 509.02 for more

p

nonprovisional patent application

an application for patent filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a); wherein patent application includes all patent applications (i.e., utility, design, plant, and reissue) except provisional applications. The nonprovisional application establishes the filing date and initiates the examination process.

p

OED

Office of Enrollment and Discipline

p

OG

Official Gazette

g

original application

"Original" is used in the patent statute and rules to refer to an application which is not a reissue application. An original application may be a first filing or a continuing application -- see MPEP 201.04(a)

p

parent application

The term "parent" is applied to an earlier application of the inventor disclosing a given invention --see MPEP 201.04 for more

p

patent

a property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor "to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States" for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.

-- see also design patent, nonprovisional patent application, plant patent, provisional patent application, reexamination proceedings, reissue application, utility patent

p

patent application

a nonprovisional utility patent application must include a specification, including a claim or claims; drawings, when necessary; an oath or declaration; and the prescribed filing fee.

p

patent application publication

Pre-Grant Publication of patent application at 18 months from priority date - Search online

p

patent number 

unique number assigned to a patent application when it issues as a patent -- see list

p

patent pending

A phrase that often appears on manufactured items. It means that someone has applied for a patent on an invention that is contained in the manufactured item. It serves as a warning that a patent may issue that would cover the item and that copiers should be careful because they might infringe if the patent issues. Once the patent issues, the patent owner will stop using the phrase "patent pending" and start using a phrase such as "covered by U.S. Patent Number XXXXXXX." Applying the patent pending phrase to an item when no patent application
has been made can result in a fine.

p

patentable

suitable to be patented; entitled by law to be protected by the issuance of a patent.

p

PCT

Patent Cooperation Treaty (more)

provides a mechanism by which an applicant can file a single application that, when certain requirements have been fulfilled, is equivalent to a regular national filing in each designated Contracting State. There are currently over 112 PCT Contracting States. 

p

PCT Regulations

provide rules concerning matters expressly refers to in the Patent Cooperation Treaty, any administrative requirements, matters, or procedures, and concerning any details useful in the implementation of the provisions of the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The rules must be adopted by the Assembly of WIPO.

p

person

for purposes of small entity determination per MPEP 509.02, a person is defined as any inventor or other individual (e.g., an individual to whom an inventor has transferred some rights in the invention), who has not assigned, granted conveyed, or licensed, and is under no obligation under contract or law to assign, grant, convey, or license any rights in the invention -- see MPEP 509.02 for more

p

petitions (patent matters)

See MPEP 711.03 and Petitions Practice within the USPTO on Patent Matters for information

p

PG Pub

Pre-Grant Publication of patent application at 18 months from priority date

p

plant application (patent)

are applications to protect invented or discovered, asexually reproduced plant varieties.

p

plant patent

may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant. --see also patent

p

postcard receipt 

a self-addressed, stamped postcard with itemized list of parts of patent application and number of pages per MPEP 503; used as a receipt for what was submitted in an application 

p

practitioner

one who stands for or acts on behalf of another. A patent attorney or patent agent may represent the inventors named in a patent application. -- see also attorney, agent.

p

precautionary designation

designation of a Contracting State in an international application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty which must be confirmed prior to 15 months from the priority date.

p

primary examiner

a patent examiner who is fully authorized to sign office actions (signatory authority) regarding patentability

p

prior art (reference)

See MPEP 900 for information

p

priority claim

claims under 35 USC 119(a)-(e) and 35 USC 120 for the benefit of the filing date of earlier filed applications.

p

Pro Se

used to designate an independent inventor who has elected to file an application by themselves without the services of a licensed representative.

p

provisional patent application

a provisional application for patent is a U. S. national application for patent filed in the USPTO under 35 U.S.C. 111(b). It allows filing without a formal patent claim, oath or declaration, or any information disclosure (prior art) statement. It provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a nonprovisional patent application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) and automatically becomes abandoned after one year. It also allows the term "Patent Pending" to be applied.

p

PTO

Patent and Trademark Office, former designation for USPTO

also a type of form designation for forms generated by the USPTO (as in PTO-892)

g

publication number

a number assigned to the publication of patent applications filed on or after November 29, 2000. It includes the year, followed by a seven digit number, followed by a kind code. Example 200011234567A1

p

RCE

Request for Continued Examination

a request filed in an application in which prosecution is closed (e.g., the application is under final rejection or a notice of allowance) that is filed to reopen prosecution and continue examination of the application; requires the filing of a submission and payment of a fee -- see 37 CFR 1.114

p

record copy

original copy of an international application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty maintained by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

p

reexamination proceeding

at any time during the enforceability of the patent, any person may request reexamination by the Office of any claim of a patent on the basis of prior patents or printed publications cited under 37 CFR 1.501. In order for the request for reexamination to be granted, a substantial new question of patentability must be present with regard to at least one patent claim. The request must be in writing and must be accompanied by payment of a reexamination request filing fee as set forth in 37 CFR 1.20(c). -- see 37 U.S.C. 302, MPEP 2209, et seq., for more

p

reference (prior art)

 See MPEP 900 for information

p

reissue application

an application for a patent to take the place of an unexpired patent that is defective in one or more particulars (items or details) --see MPEP 201.05 and MPEP 1400.

p

representative

one who stands for or acts on behalf of another. A patent attorney or patent agent may represent the inventors named in a patent application. -- see also , agent.

p

Request (PCT)

Form PCT/RO/101, filed with an international application in a receiving Office, which includes an indication of applicant(s) and a designation of one or more Contracting States.

p

restriction

if two or more independent and distinct inventions are claimed in a single application, the
examiner may require the applicant to elect
(designate) a single invention to which the claims will be restricted (limited to). This requirement is known as a requirement for restriction (also known as a requirement for division). Such requirement will normally be made before any action on the merits; however, it may be made at any time before final action (final rejection). (See 37 CFR 1.141 and 1.142)

p

RO

Receiving Office - the national Office or the intergovernmental organization with which an international application has been filed.

p

search copy

copy of an international application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty maintained by the International Searching Authority.

p

serial number

a number assigned to a patent application when it is filed. A serial number is usually used together with a two digit series code to distinguish between applications filed at different times.

p

series code

a two digit code representing a period of time. Application Filing Date - examples: 01/01/79-12/31/86 Series 06; 01/01/87-12/31/92 Series 07; 01/01/93-12/31/97 Series 08; 01/01/98-Present Series 09

p

SIR

a published statutory invention registration contains the specification and drawings of a regularly filed nonprovisional application for a patent without examination if the applicant - (1) meets the requirements of section 112 of this title; (2) has complied with the requirements for printing, as set forth in regulations of the Commissioner; (3) waives the right to receive a patent on the invention within such period as may be prescribed by the Commissioner; and (4) pays application, publication, and other processing fees established by the Commissioner. A request for a statutory invention registration (SIR) may be filed at the time of filing a nonprovisional application for patent, or may be filed later during pendency of the nonprovisional application. See MPEP 1100 for more

p

small business concern

for purposes of small entity determination per MPEP 509.02 - any business concern meeting the size standards set forth in 13 CFR Part 121 to be eligible for reduced patent fees. Questions related to size standards for a small business concern may be directed to: Small Business Administration, Size Standards Staff, 409 Third Street, SW, Washington, DC 20416. see MPEP 509.02 for more

g

small entity 

for purposes of small entity determination per MPEP 509.02 - means an independent inventor, a small business concern, or a nonprofit organization eligible for reduced patent fees -- see MPEP 509.02 for more

g

specification

a written description of the invention and the manner and process of making and using the same -- see MPEP 608.01 for more

p

substitute patent application

an application which is in essence a duplicate of a prior (earlier filed) application by the same applicant abandoned before the filing of the substitute (later filed) application; a substitute application does not obtain the benefit of the filing date of the prior application -- see MPEP 201.09 for more

p

Technology Center

(or TC, also referred to as a Group) - a unit of several Group Art Units in the mechanical, electrical, chemical or design area, managed by one or more Group Directors. Formerly referred to as Groups.

p

TMEP

Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure

t

trade secret

information that companies keep secret to give them an advantage over their competitors.

t

trademark

protect words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services. Trademarks, unlike patents, can be renewed forever as long as they are being used in business.

t

USC

United States Code - see MORE INFO

g

USPTO

United States Patent and Trademark Office, designation became effective April 3, 2000; a result of the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999

g

utility patent application

protect useful processes, machines, articles of manufacture, and compositions of matter.

p

utility patent

may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new, useful, and nonobvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. See also patent

p

WCT

WIPO Copyright Treaty

g

WIPO

World Intellectual Property Organization

an intergovernmental organization of the United Nations system. WIPO is responsible for the promotion of the protection of intellectual property throughout the world and for the administration of various multilateral treaties dealing with the legal and administrative aspects of intellectual property.

g

WTO

World Trade Organization

g

 

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