A

Abandoned Patent - a patent is considered abandoned when the patent owner loses all rights to the patent during its term, and the invention is dedicated to the public.

Abstract - a brief summary of the invention in a patent application.

Amendment - a document correcting, deleting or adding language to a filed patent application which responds to an Office Action in the patent application process.

Assignment - the transfer of patent rights and title to another (assignee).

B

C

Claim - in patent law, is a series of statements in a patent which defines the legal rights and boundaries of a patent owner and protects the owner from potential infringement.

Continuation application - a second application filed in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office which has the same inventors and generally contains the same information. It must be filed before the issuance or abandonment of an earlier, first application.

Continuation-in-Part - a second application filed in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office which has the same inventors, but which adds new subject matter in addition to the old subject matter of the earlier, first application. It must be filed before the issuance or abandonment of the first application.

Copyright - protection of works of authorship, such as writings, music and works of art which are tangible.

D

Date of Invention - date accorded to an invention.

Design Patent - type of patent which protects the overall ornamental appearance of an object.

Doctrine of Equivalents - doctrine applied in the patent application process when two inventions perform substantially the same function in the same way to obtain the same results.

E

Examination - procedure in which a patent application is reviewed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in order to determine if the claimed subject matter is patentable.

F

File Wrapper - collective word for all the papers filed in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office during prosecution of the patent application.

Filing Date - the date the complete patent application was submitted to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

G

H

I

Intellectual Property - collective word which comprises the ownership of an idea which can be touched, seen, heard or felt, such as a patent, trademark, copyright or trade secret.

J

Joint Inventors - two or more persons jointly discovering an invention.

K

L

M

N

O

Office Action - in the United States Patent & Trademark Office, a document submitted by an Examiner in the patent application process which objects, rejects or allows the claimed subject matter of the patent.

P

Patent - a piece of intellectual property granted by a government which gives the owner or inventor of the idea the exclusive rights to make, use or sell an invention.

Patentability - determining whether the claimed subject matter in a patent application or an issued patent is valid.

Prior Art - in a patent application, it is the previously known subject matter relating to the present invention.  Included within the definition of 'prior art' can be a prior publication, a prior patent, an abandonment of an invention, a prior sale or offer for sale, a prior use, prior public and general knowledge or a prior invention.

Q

R

Reexamination - a procedure in the patent application process whereby a person may file a request for reexamination by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on the basis of prior art and/or printed publications.

Registered Trademark - a protected mark consisting of words and/or symbols which identifies the source of goods, services and/or quality and which is registered with the government, designated by ®.

Rejection - when a claim(s) is not allowed by an Examiner in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in a pending application.

S

Specification - in a patent application or issued patent, it is the complete description of the invention and is the basis of the claims.

T

Terminal Disclaimer - disclaiming a portion of the term of a patent, i.e. disclaiming the last two years of a patent otherwise having a term of 18 years.

Trademark - a mark consisting of words and/or symbols which identifies the source of goods, services and/or quality.

Trade Name - a name used in trade which distinguishes a particular business from others. It can be exclusive or non-exclusive.

Trade Secret - a plan, process, tool, mechanism or compound which a company desires to keep confidential as a competitive advantage.

U

Unobviousness - a requirement in applying for a patent, where a person having ordinary skill in the art would not have combined prior art to arrive at the new invention.

V

W

X

Y

Z