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Intellectual Property Law Glossary

Trying to decipher an acronym? Attempting to understand legal jargon? The Intellectual Property glossary gives you access to definitions for Intellectual Property legal terminology commonly used in documents and court proceedings. This Intellectual Property Law glossary will help you understand the legal terms and phrases which are relevant to copyright, patent law, and areas of Intellectual Property law.

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Intellectual Property Law Glossary

  • Abandonment
    1 : the act of abandoning property or a right: as a : relinquishment by an inventor of the right to enforce a patent see also dedication b : an author's relinquishment to the public domain of his ...
  • Allegation Of Use
    a sworn statement signed by a trademark applicant (or a person authorized to sign on behalf of the applicant) attesting to use of the mark in commerce. The allegation of use must include one ...
  • Appeal
    [Old French apel, from apeler to call, accuse, appeal, from Latin appellare] : a proceeding in which a case is brought before a higher court for review of a lower court's judgment for the purpose of ...
  • Application (Trademark)
    Document by which a person requests a federal trademark registration. To receive a filing date, an application must include (1) the applicant's name, (2) a name and address for correspondence, (3) a ...
  • Arbitrary Marks
    Comprise words that are in common linguistic use but, when used to identify particular goods or services, do not suggest or describe a significant ingredient, quality or characteristic of the goods or ...
  • Assignment
    1 : the act of assigning 2 a : a position, post, or office to which one is assigned b : a task assigned 3 : a present transfer of property or rights absolute assignment : an assignment in which ...
  • Blackout Period
    The period between the date the USPTO's examining attorney approves a trademark for publication and the date of issuance of the Notice of Allowance from the USPTO. The applicant may not file an ...
  • Certificate Of Registration
    Official document from the USPTO evidencing that a trademark has been registered.
  • Certification Mark
    Any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce by someone other than its owner, to certify regional or other origin, material, mode of manufacture, ...
  • Collective Mark
    : a trademark or a service mark of a group (as a cooperative association)
  • Commerce Clause
    often cap both Cs : a clause in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution that empowers Congress to regulate interstate commerce and commerce with foreign countries and that forms the ...
  • Copyright
    : a person's exclusive right to reproduce, publish, or sell his or her original work of authorship (as a literary, musical, dramatic, artistic, or architectural work) see also common-law copyright, ...
  • Descriptive Mark
    : a trademark or service mark that conveys the idea of the qualities, characteristics, or effects of a product or service and that is protectable when it creates an association in the mind of the ...
  • Design Code Search Manual
    Lists the numerical codes for searching designs in the USPTO's trademark database.
  • Disclaimer
    [Anglo-French desclamer, from desclamer to disavow, deny, from Old French des-, prefix marking reversal + clamer to claim see claim ] 1 : a refusal or disavowal of something that one has a right to ...
  • Eteas
    The USPTO's "electronic Trademark Examination Application System" - electronic trademark filing system. It allows the public to complete various trademark filings and transactions on-line.
  • Examining Attorney
    A USPTO employee who examines (reviews and determines compliance with the legal and regulatory requirements of) an application for registration of a federally registered trademark
  • Fanciful Marks
    Comprise terms that have been invented for the sole purpose of functioning as a trademark or service mark. Such marks comprise words that are either unknown in the language (e.g., "Pepsi", "Kodak", ...
  • Generic Term
    Terms that the relevant purchasing public understands primarily as the common or class name for the goods or services. These terms are incapable of functioning as trademarks denoting source, and are ...
  • Goods And Services
    Goods are products. In the context of service marks, a service (1) must be a real activity; (2) must be performed to the order of, or for the benefit of, someone other than the applicant; and (3) the ...
  • Informal Application
    A trademark application that has been filed without one or more of the elements required to receive a filing date. The USPTO will return informal applications to applicants.
  • Infringement
    : the act or an instance of infringing ;esp : the unauthorized use of copyrighted or patented material or of a trademark, trade name, or trade dress see also equivalent, fair use NOTE: Infringement ...
  • Intent To Use
    Applicants who have not yet used the trademark they wish to register may file an "intent to use" trademark application. An "intent to use" application must include a sworn statement (usually in the ...
  • International Application
    Allows a trademark owner to seek registration in any of the countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol by filing a single application.
  • Likelihood Of Confusion
    A statutory basis for refusing registration of a trademark or service mark because it is likely to conflict with a mark or marks already registered or pending before the U.S. Patent and Trademark ...
  • Loan Or Credit Agreement
    If your company's loan is fairly large, the lender may require a loan or credit agreement. A loan agreement contains terms and conditions for your loan in addition to those contained in the promissory ...
  • Madrid Protocol
    The "Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks" (Madrid Protocol) is an international treaty that allows a trademark owner to seek registration in ...
  • Mere Descriptiveness
    Statutory basis for refusing registration of trademarks and service marks because the proposed mark merely describes an ingredient, quality, characteristic, function, feature, purpose or use of the ...
  • Notice Of Abandonment
    A written notification from the USPTO that an application has been declared abandoned or, in other words, is no longer pending.
  • Notice Of Allowance
    A written notification from the USPTO that a specific mark has survived the opposition period following publication in the Official Gazette, and has consequently been allowed for registration. It does ...
  • Notice Of Publication
    A written statement from the USPTO notifying an applicant that its mark will be published in the Official Gazette.
  • Office Action
    A letter from a trademark examining attorney from the USPTO, setting forth the legal status of a trademark application. There are several types of Office actions: examiner's amendments, priority ...
  • Opposition Proceeding
    A proceeding in which the plaintiff seeks to prevent the issuance of a registration of a mark. An opposition is similar to a proceeding in a federal court, but is held before the Trademark Trial and ...
  • Patent
    [Anglo-French, from Latin patent- patens, from present participle of patēre to be open] 1 a : open to public inspection see also letters patent at letter b : secured or protected by a patent [a ...
  • Principal Register
    Primary trademark register of the USPTO. When a mark has been registered on the Principal Register, the mark is entitled to all the rights provided by federal law.
  • Priority Action
    A letter in which an examining attorney sets forth specific requirements that the applicant must meet before an application can be approved for publication.
  • Pseudo Mark
    A way of locating a word mark that is comprised of an alternative or intentionally corrupted spelling of an English word. The pseudo mark search locates spellings that are very similar or phonetically ...
  • Registration
    1 : the act of registering 2 : an entry in a register 3 : a document certifying an act of registering
  • Search
    1 : an exploratory investigation (as of an area or person) by a government agent that intrudes on an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy and is conducted usually for the purpose of finding ...
  • Security Agreement
    : an agreement which creates or provides for a security interest [perfect a security interest in collateral described in a security agreement] compare secured transaction
  • Service Mark
    : a mark (as a name) used esp. in advertising to identify and distinguish services (as transportation) of one person from another and to indicate the source of the services see also Trademark Act of ...
  • Specimen
    A real-world example of how the mark is actually used on goods or in the offer of services. Labels, tags, or containers for goods are considered to be acceptable specimens of use for a trademark.
  • Statement Of Use
    A sworn statement signed by a trademark applicant or a person authorized to sign on behalf of the applicant attesting to use of the mark in commerce.
  • Suggestive Mark
    A mark that, when applied to the goods or services at issue, requires imagination, thought or perception to reach a conclusion as to the nature of those goods or services.
  • Trade Dress
    : the overall image of a product used in its marketing or sales that is composed of the nonfunctional elements of its design, packaging, or labeling (as colors, package shape, or symbols) NOTE: Trade ...
  • Trade Secret
    : a formula, process, device, or item of information used by a business that has economic value because it is not generally known or easily discovered by observation or examination and for which ...
  • Trademark
    : a mark that is used by a manufacturer or merchant to identify the origin or ownership of goods and to distinguish them from others and the use of which is protected by law see also dilution, ...
  • Trademark Act
    Trademark Act of 1946 (currently contained in Chapter 22 of Title 15 of the United States Code); the major body of U.S. law that governs federal registration of trademarks.
  • Trademark Trial And Appeal Board
    An administrative tribunal at the USPTO. It has jurisdiction over appeals from decisions of the Trademark Office, as well as opposition proceedings and cancellation proceedings.
  • Unfair Competition
    : the common-law tort of passing off one's goods as another's ;broadly : any of various torts (as disparagement) that interfere with the business prospects of a competitor or injure consumers
  • Use In Commerce
    For the purpose of obtaining federal trademark registration, "commerce" means all commerce that the U.S. Congress may lawfully regulate; for example, interstate commerce or commerce between the U.S. ...
  • Use-Based Application
    There are four filing bases on which a trademark application may be based. One filing basis is use of the mark in commerce (the other three are filing based on an intent-to-use the mark in commerce, ...
  • Word Mark
    A type of trademark comprised of text.