A-Z definitions of intellectual property terminology.

A

AAU (patent)

Application Assistance Unit - the call center that serves the Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) and Office of Data Management (ODM) providing assistance with questions relating to: filing receipts; missing parts letters; pre-examination and the post-examination abandonment notices; express abandonments; change/withdrawal of attorney; change of address; and Power of Attorney. Can assist if you need to check on the status of an application that is in the pre-examination or the post-examination phase of processing.

-- see Application Assistance Center

ABA #

American Bankers Association number - often referred to as the "transit routing number," is the nine digit electronic address of a financial institution. The ABA number is encoded in the MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) line of all checks, and is assigned to each financial institution and each branch office of that financial institution.

abandoned application (trademarks)

An application that is no longer active or pending, so the trademark being applied for can't mature into a registration unless the application is revived or reinstated.

abandonment (patent)

Abandonment may be either of the invention or of a patent application. An abandoned patent application, in accordance with 37 CFR 1.135 and 1.138, is one which is removed from the office docket of pending applications. A patent application becomes abandoned for failure to file a complete and proper reply as the condition of the application may require within the time period provided under 37 CFR 1.134 and 1.136 unless an office action indicates otherwise.

-- see MPEP 711
-- see express abandonment

ABC

Activity based cost accounting - an accrual-based accounting method for determining unit-based costs of delivering services by allocating the costs to budgetary resources; it measures the performance and costs related to a specific activity or function.

ABM

Activity based management - a management methodology that combines ABC with business process analysis techniques to run, improve, and measure performance for a business or organization.

ABSS

Automated Biotechnology Sequence Search - system designed to search electronic sequence listing data submitted by applicants and molecular sequences using applicant submissions and commercial databases of published sequence information.

See Publication Site for Issued and Published Sequences (PSIPS)

abstract of the disclosure

A brief abstract of the technical disclosure in the specification commencing on a separate sheet, preferably following the claims, under the heading “Abstract” or “Abstract of the Disclosure.” The abstract must be as concise as the disclosure permits, preferably not exceeding 150 words in length. The abstract enables the office and the public to quickly determine the nature and gist of the technical disclosure.

-- see MPEP 608.01(b) and 37 CFR 1.72

accelerated examination

USPTO established procedures under which the examination of a patent application may be accelerated.

--see Accelerated examination and MPEP 708

Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual

A USPTO Manual that lists acceptable identifications of goods and services. Applicants can use an ID Manual listing in their trademark application if the listing accurately reflects their goods or services.

ACH

Automated Clearing House - a nationwide batch-oriented electronic funds transfer system governed by the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA).

Administrative Instructions

Refers to the Administrative Instructions established by the Director General of WIPO under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) or under the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (Hague Agreement). The Administrative Instructions set out the provisions and requirements in relation to the filing and processing of international applications under the PCT and of international design applications and international registrations under the Hague Agreement.

--see Appendix AI

ADS

--see Application Data Sheet

agent (patent)

(May be referred to as a practitioner or representative.) An individual who is registered to practice before the office who is not an attorney but is authorized to act for or on behalf of the applicant(s).

-- see registered patent attorneys and agents

-- see 37 CFR 11.5-11.7

AIA

America Invents Act.

-- see American Invents Act

AIPA

American Inventors Protection Act of 1999.

see American Inventor’s Protection Act

AIPLA

American Intellectual Property Law Association

AIR

The Automated Interview Request (AIR) form is a way for applicants to schedule an interview using the Internet, e.g., an alternative to leaving an examiner voicemail to schedule an interview. After the form is submitted, the examiner will respond to confirm the request or propose a new date/time. The examiner may request additional information, e.g., requesting an agenda if one is not provided. The AIR form links to form SB/0439 which can be used for internet authorization.

You can find the AIR form on USPTO.gov by typing “AIR form” in the search box or by clicking on “Complete the form” on the external interview practice website.

AIS

Automated Information System.

ALC #

Agency Location Code - an eight digit code assigned to U.S. government agencies by the Department of Treasury.

Allegation of Use (AOU)

An applicant’s written submission that they're using their trademark in commerce with specified goods or services, which is required for intent-to-use applications. Among other requirements, it must include a specimen showing actual use of the trademark in commerce for each class of goods or services. It's filed as either an Amendment to Allege Use (AAU) or a Statement of Use (SOU), depending on when it's submitted.

Amendment to Allege Use (AAU)

An applicant’s written submission that they're using their trademark in commerce with specified goods or services, submitted before approval for publication. This is a form of allegation of use, which is required in intent-to-use applications. Among other requirements, it must include a specimen showing actual use of the trademark in commerce for each class of goods or services.

Annex F

-- see MPEP 502.05

-- see Annex F of the PCT Administrative Instructions

APMS

Automated project management system.

appeal (patent)

An applicant for a patent application, reissue application, or reexamination proceeding dissatisfied with the primary examiner’s second adverse decision or final rejection may appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) for review of the examiner’s rejection. An appeal will be entered upon filing a notice of appeal, a brief in support of an appeal, and paying the fees as set forth in MPEP 1204 within the time as set forth by 37 CFR 1.134.

-- see PTAB

-- see MPEP 1200

appeal (trademarks)

An applicant’s request made to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) to review a trademark examining attorney's final decision regarding an application for registration.

applicant (patent)

Inventor or all of the joint inventors, or the persons who are applying for a patent  as provided for in 37 CFR 1.43, 1.45 or 1.46 .

-- see 37 CFR 1.42 and MPEP 602.08 and 605.01

-- see MPEP 605.02 for information regarding the applicant in applications filed before September 16, 2012.  For the applicant in an international application see MPEP 1806. For the applicant in an international design application see MPEP 2920.02.

 

applicant (trademarks)

An individual person or juristic entity (such as a corporation, partnership, joint venture, or association) who owns or has a bona fide intent to use a trademark with specific goods or services and has applied to federally register it

applicant’s Contracting Party

The Contracting Party or one of the Contracting Parties from which the applicant derives its entitlement to file an international design application under the Hague Agreement by virtue of satisfying, in relation to that Contracting Party, at least one of the conditions specified in Article 3 of the Hague Agreement (nationality, domicile, habitual residence, or a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment). Where there are two or more Contracting Parties from which the applicant may, under Article 3, derive its entitlement to file an international design application, "applicant's Contracting Party" means the one which, among those Contracting Parties, is indicated as such in the international design application.

--see Appendix T Rule 18.1

application (trademarks)

A written request to the USPTO for federal registration of a trademark for specified goods or services

application (US) (patent)

A U.S. application for patent filed under 35 USC 111(a) includes original nonprovisional utility, design, plant, divisional, continuation, and continuation-in-part applications filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b), reissue applications filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b), and design patent continued prosecution applications (CPAs) filed under 37 CFR 1.53(d). Applications filed under 35 USC 111(b) are provisional applications for patent and are filed under 37 CFR 1.53(c). 

-- see types of patent applications/proceedings

-- see also non-provisional application

-- see also provisional application

-- see also design application

for international applications see MPEP 1800

for international design applications see MPEP 2900

 

 

Application Data Sheet (ADS)

A sheet or set of sheets containing bibliographic data, which is arranged in a format specified by the office. An ADS must comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.76.    

-- see quick start guides for EFS-Web web-based ADS and the EFS-Web Corrected ADS.

--see 37 CFR 1.76 and MPEP 601.05 and form PTO/AIA/14 available on the PTO forms page 

--for applications filed before September 16, 2012 see MPEP 601.05(b)

application filing date (trademarks)

The date when an application meets these minimum requirements: It must be written in English and contain the applicant’s name and their contact information (including email address), a clear drawing of the trademark, a list of goods or services, a filing fee for at least one class, and if applicable, an attorney name and their contact information (including email address).

Application number (US) (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.

--see also international application number

--see also series code and serial number

arbitrary trademarks

A trademark that consists of one or more words with a common meaning completely unrelated to the goods or services with which the trademark is used

ASEAN

Association of South East Asian Nations.

assignee

A party that is the recipient of a transfer of a patent application, patent, trademark application, or trademark registration from its owner, or applicant, of record (assignor).

assignment (patent)

In general, the act of transferring to another the ownership of one’s property, i.e., the interest and rights to the property. In 37 CFR 3.1, assignment of patent rights is defined as “a transfer by a party of all or part of its right, title and interest in a patent [or] patent application....” An assignment of a patent, or patent application, is the transfer to another of a party’s entire ownership interest or a percentage of that party’s ownership interest in the patent or application. In order for an assignment to take place, the transfer to another must include the entirety of the bundle of rights that is associated with the ownership interest, i.e., all of the bundle of rights that are inherent in the right, title and interest in the patent or patent application. Record all assignments with the USPTO’s Assignment Recordation Branch to maintain clear title to pending patent applications and patents.

-- see Patent Assignments: Change and search ownership

-- see Assignments on the Web (AOTW)

-- see also Assignment Recordation Branch (ARB)

-- see MPEP 300

assignment (trademarks)

A transfer of ownership of a trademark in an application or registration

Assignment Recordation Branch (ARB)

Provides help with issues or concerns relating to new assignments or obtaining information relating to a pending assignment, as well as questions about assignments, liens on patents, filing assignments recordation forms, and trademark assignments.

-- to record an assignment see EPAS

assignor

The owner of record of a patent application, patent, trademark application or trademark registration who is transferring (assigning) ownership to another entity (assignee).

ATO

Authority to operate - after completing a security assessment, the head of an agency (or their designee) can authorize the system for use, or grant an authority to operate (ATO). An agency grants an ATO according to a risk-based framework that analyzes how a vendor has implemented the security controls within their IT environment.

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 registered patent attorneys and agents

-- see 37 CFR  11.5- 11.7

 

authorized attorney or practitioner (trademarks)

An attorney who is an active member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any U.S. state who represents an applicant, registrant, or party in a trademark matter before the USPTO

 

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B

benefit claim

-- see also domestic benefit claim and/or foreign priority claim MPEP 210-215

BIA

Business impact analysis.

bio-sequence listings

The sequence rules (37 CFR 1.821 -1.825) set forth the requirements pertaining to patent applications containing nucleotide sequence and/or amino acid sequence disclosures.

-- see MPEP  608.05 and 2422.03

blackout period

The period after a trademark is approved for publication and before a Notice of Allowance is issued. You cannot file an Amendment to Allege Use or a Statement of Use during the blackout period.

Boolean

Boolean logic (named for the British-born Irish mathematician George Boole) express relationships in logic arguments using the following three operators: "and", "or", "not".

The patent search systems use "AND", "OR", and "ANDNOT" as Boolean operators, in combination with parentheses to build nested logical subsets - example: needle ANDNOT ((record AND player) OR sewing), which would return anything with the word "needle" in a document as long as it does not also contain the word "record" and "player" in the same document or the word "sewing" in the same document. It also uses some symbols such as "->" to indicate a range, where you enter the field code and start date, ->, and then the end date - example: ISD/1/1/1995->2/14/1995.

-- see help for patent searches for more information on how to use Boolean operators in a patent search

BPAI

Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (since 2012 Patent Trial and Appeal Board). 

-- see also PTAB

 

BPAIIS

Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences Information System (replaced by PTAB E2E).

BRM

Business reference model: An organized, hierarchical way to describe the day-to-day business operations of the federal government; this model presents the business using a functionally driven approach regardless of organizational structure.

-- see Federal Enterprise Architecture

bypass continuing application

A continuing application filed under 35 USC 111(a) claiming domestic benefit to an international application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. Such an application “bypasses” the national stage under 35 USC 371.

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C

C&A

Certification and accreditation.

canceled claim (patent)

A claim that is canceled or deleted. "Canceled" is the status identifier that should be used when a claim is canceled in an application.

-- see 37 CFR 1.121(c)

canceled registration

Trademark registration that's no longer active, so the owner no longer benefits from the rights that come with a federal registration. Common causes include failing to file a required maintenance document, a cancellation proceeding at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, or a civil court action.

cancellation proceeding

Legal proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board where a third party presents evidence and argues that an existing trademark registration should be canceled.

CAO

Chief Administrative Officer.

CBM

-- see covered business method

CD

A type of form designation such as Form CD435, meaning a Commerce Department form.

CD

A compact disc (electronic data storage media).

CEAR

Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting.

cease and desist letter or email

Letter or email a trademark owner sends to another party alleging that the recipient is infringing on the owner's trademark rights and demanding that they stop

certificate of mailing or transmission

A certificate for each piece of correspondence mailed used to determine whether the correspondence was deposited within the filing period, on or prior to the expiration of the set period of time for response, stating the date of deposit with the U.S. Postal Service, transmitted by facsimile or transmitted via the USPTO electronic filing system (EFS-Web) and including a signature. If the date stated is within the period for reply, the reply in most instances will be considered to be timely. This is true even if the paper does not actually reach the office until after the end of the period for reply. The certificate of mailing procedure may not be used for certain filings described in 37 CFR 1.8(a)(2) or when sending mail to the USPTO from a foreign country. 

-- see MPEP 512 and 37 CFR 1.8

certification mark

A type of mark that identifies goods or services that meet certain standards set by another person or organization (such as quality, material, or accuracy standards), or indicates that members of a union or organization worked on the goods or provided the service. Like trademarks, certification marks can be words, phrases, symbols, designs, or a combination of these things.

CFC

Combined Federal Campaign - an annual government-wide campaign for charitable contributions from federal employees.

CFO

Chief Financial Officer.

CFR

Code of Federal Regulations.

-- see How to find laws and regulations

 

CFS

Core financial system.

Chapter I

The first phase under the Patent Cooperation Treaty that includes performance of an international-type search and issuance of an international search report and written opinion by the International Searching Authority, and publication of the international application and international search report by the International Bureau of WIPO. The content of the written opinion is made available by the International Bureau to the designated offices in the form of an International Preliminary Report on Patentability (Chapter I) after the expiration of 30 months from the priority date, unless it is superseded by the issuance of an International Preliminary Report on Patentability (Chapter II).

Chapter II

The second, optional, phase under the Patent Cooperation Treaty that is initiated with the timely filing of a demand for international preliminary examination.  Chapter II culminates in the issuance of an international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II) which provides a preliminary, non-binding opinion on whether the claimed invention appears to be novel, to involve an inventive step and to be industrially applicable.

-- see also demand

CIP

-- see also continuation-in-part

CIS

Customer information system.

claim

Defines the invention for which patent protection is sought. 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 clearly understood by reference to the description. (See 37 CFR  1.75).

-- see MPEP 608.01(i)

classification

A code which provides a method for categorizing the invention.

-- see Manual of Patent Classification

-- see MPEP 902-907

--see Classification Standards and Development

 

classification of goods and services

Categorization of your goods and services in the correct international class number. International Classes are established by an international system that classifies goods and services in numbered classes that are based on function and purpose, for example Class 25 is for clothing.

clearance search

A search you complete before applying for a trademark registration to make sure your trademark is available to register for your particular goods or services, and to make sure that no other trademark conflicts with it.

coinventor

An inventor who is named with at least one other inventor in a patent application, wherein each inventor contributes to the conception (creation) of the invention set forth in at least one claim in a patent application.

-- see MPEP 602.09 and 2137.01 and 37 CFR 1.45

-- see also joint application and joint inventor

collective mark

A type of mark used by members of a group or organization. Some are used to indicate membership, and others are used by group members to distinguish their goods and services from those of nonmembers. Like trademarks, collective marks can be words, phrases, symbols, designs, or a combination of these things.

combination patent

a patent granted for an invention that unites existing components in a novel way

common inventor

an inventor whose name is listed on multiple patent applications or granted patents, making the inventions at least partially the work of the same person.

common law rights

Trademark rights established when you start using a trademark in commerce with particular goods or services. Common law rights are limited to the specific geographic area where you use your trademark. They can be difficult to prove and are generally less robust than the rights granted by federal trademark registration.

complaint

A formal written statement you file with a court or administrative appeal board if you want to sue another party. It lays out the reasons and legal basis for the lawsuit.

complete trademark application

A trademark application that includes all required information. For example, it must be in English, clearly identify the trademark, identify the name, address, and email of each applicant, list the particular goods or services, and include all required fees.  

-See 37 C.F.R section 2.21, 37 C.F.R section 2.32

composed of

(Used when defining the scope of a claim.) A transitional phrase that is interpreted in the same manner as either "consisting of" or "consisting essentially of," depending on the facts of the particular case (context).

-- see also transitional phrase

-- see MPEP 2111.03

comprising

(Used when defining the scope of a claim.) A transitional phrase that is synonymous with (means the same thing as) "including," "containing" or "characterized by;" is inclusive or open-ended and does not exclude additional, unrecited elements or method steps.

-- see also transitional phrase

-- see MPEP 2111.03

concept

An idea or design.

confirmation number

A four-digit number that is assigned to each newly filed patent application. The confirmation number, in combination with the application number, is used to verify the accuracy of the application number placed on correspondence filed with the office to avoid misidentification of an application due to a transposition error (misplaced digits) in the application number. The office recommends that applicants include the application's confirmation number (in addition to the application number) on all correspondence submitted to the office concerning the application.

-- see MPEP 503

conflicting trademark

A trademark that’s similar to yours, and that is used with goods or services that are related to your goods or services. When two or more trademarks that conflict with each other are in use in commerce, it can cause confusion because consumers may not be able to determine the source of the goods or services.

CONFU

Conference on Fair Use.

-- see National Information Infrastructure Report on Intellectual Property Rights

consisting essentially of

A transitional phrase that limits the scope of a claim to the specified materials or steps and those that do not materially affect the basic and novel characteristics of the claimed invention.

For the purposes of searching for and applying prior art under 35 USC 102 and 103, absent (without) a clear indication in the specification or claims of what the basic and novel characteristics actually are, "consisting essentially of" will be construed (understood) as equivalent to "comprising."

-- see transitional phrase

-- see MPEP 2111.03 for more information

consisting of

A transitional phrase that is closed (only includes exactly what is stated) and excludes any element, step, or ingredient not specified in the claim.

-- see transitional phrase

-- see MPEP 2111.03

continuation

An application for the invention(s) disclosed in a prior-filed copending nonprovisional application, international application designating the United States, or international design application designating the United States.

-- see MPEP 201.07

continuation-in-part

An application containing a domestic benefit claim to an earlier filed nonprovisional application, international (PCT) application designating the United States, or international design application designating the United States, repeating some substantial portion or all of the earlier application and adding matter not disclosed in the earlier application.

-- see MPEP 201.08

-- see also domestic benefit claim

continued use

Continuous use of a trademark in commerce with the goods or services in the registration, which is required to maintain the registration.

continuing application

A continuing application is a continuation, divisional, or continuation-in-part application filed under the conditions specified in 35 USC 120,  121, 365(c), or 386(c) and 37 CFR 1.78.

-- see MPEP 201.06-201.08

contracting party

A country or intergovernmental organization that participates in the Madrid International Trademark System, which allows trademark owners to register and manage trademarks worldwide. This system was established by an international treaty, which is commonly called the "Madrid Protocol."  

Contracting State

A state that is party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

Control No.

A 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; 96 for supplemental examination requests), and a 6-digit serial number.

copyrights

Protect works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed. Copyrights may be federally registered with the Library of Congress.

-- see Copyright policy

There is an area of overlap between copyright and design patent statutes where the author/inventor can secure both a copyright and a design patent. Thus, an ornamental design may be copyrighted as a work of art and may also be subject matter of a design patent.

-- see MPEP 1512

As a work of the United States government, this glossary falls under the provisions of 17 USC  403, which requires that works including all or part of this material in a copyrighted work contain a statement in their copyright that clearly identifies what portions of the work consist of a work of the U.S. government. Failure to do so could result in loss of copyright protection for the entire work.

-- see Editorial Standards

COTS

Commercial off-the-shelf - an acquisition term referring to commercially available ready to use products that require no customization in order to meet performance requirements.

counterclaim

A claim made by someone being sued against the party suing them. It can oppose or reduce the initial claims of the party who brought the lawsuit, or can assert different claims against them.

counterpart

An application filed in a foreign patent office that is substantially similar to (like) the patent application filed with the USPTO and is based upon some or all of the same invention. The two applications would generally have the same applicant.

-- see 37 CFR 1.97

country of origin (trademarks)

Foreign country where you are domiciled, are a national, or have a bona fide and effective industrial or commercial establishment.

covered business method

(Also known as the Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents.) A proceeding conducted at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to review the patentability of one or more claims in a covered business method.

-- see Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patent

--see https://www.uspto.gov/patents/laws/america-invents-act-aia/inter-partes…

--see also inter partes review, post grant review, and derivation

CPA

Continued Prosecution Application

A continuation or divisional application filed in a design application under 37 CFR 1.53(d).

-- see MPEP 201.06(d)

-- see 1271 OG 43, 24 June 2003

CPC

Cooperative Patent Classification - a joint partnership between USPTO and EPO to harmonize the existing classification systems.

-- see MPEP 905

CPIC

Capital Planning and Investment Control - envisioned in the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, OMB Circular A-130 (Management of Federal Information Resources) and other related guidance, this is a management process for ongoing identification, selection, control, and evaluation of investments in information resources. The process links budget formulation and execution, and is focused on agency missions and achieving specific program outcomes.

CRF

Computer readable format.

CSS

Cascading Style Sheet - a technology used for webpages to format fonts and control layouts on the computer display.

customer number

(Previously referred to as "payor number.") A number assigned by the office that is used to correlate all filings and correspondence simplifying 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) or "Request for Customer Number Data Change" form (PTO/SB/124).

-- see 37 CFR 1.33(a), 1.76 and MPEP 403

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D

dead application or registration

A trademark application or registration that is no longer active, so it can’t be used to bar another pending trademark application from federal registration. The trademarks in dead applications or registrations may still be in use in commerce, and the owner may have common law rights. In some cases, the application or registration can be revived or reinstated, making them "live" again.

deceased inventor

A named inventor who has died prior to the filing of a patent application or during the prosecution of a patent application.

For information regarding applications for patent filed on or after September 16, 2012 on behalf of a deceased or legally incapacitated inventor, see MPEP 409.01(a). For information regarding applications for patent filed on or after September 16, 2012 where the inventor or at least one joint inventor is unavailable, see MPEP 409.02, 604, and 605.

-- see 35 USC 117, 37 CFR 1.43

For information regarding applications for patent filed before September 16, 2012 on behalf of a deceased inventor or legally incapacitated inventor, see MPEP 409.01(b). For information regarding applications for patent filed before September 16, 2012 where at least one inventor is unavailable, see MPEP 409.03 – 409.03(j).

-- see 35 USC 117 and pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.42 and 1.43

 

declaration (trademarks)

Statement verifying that the information in a submission to the USPTO is true, and that the person submitting it is aware of the legal penalties for knowingly submitting false information. Declarations must be signed by an authorized person, such as the trademark owner or their U.S.-licensed attorney.

declaration/oath

An oath or declaration under 35 USC 115. An oath or declaration must be filed in each application for patent (other than a provisional application).

-- see oath

default judgment

Decision in a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceeding when a defendant doesn't respond on time to a complaint. Default judgments often grant the plaintiff the relief they requested in their complaint.

defendant

The party being sued.

Demand

Form PCT/IPEA/401, filed with a competent International Preliminary Examining Authority, demanding that an international application be subject to international preliminary examination under Chapter II of the Patent Cooperation Treaty. It is not possible to file a demand unless a proper Chapter I request for an international application has been filed.

-- see MPEP 1864-1865

dependent claim

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

-- see MPEP 608.01(i); 37 CFR 1.75

deposit account

An account that is established in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), upon payment of a fee for establishing such an account, for the convenience in paying any fees due, in ordering services offered by the USPTO, copies of records, etc.

-- see MPEP 509.01

-- see deposit accounts

derivation

A derivation proceeding is a trial proceeding conducted at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to determine whether (i) an inventor named in an earlier application derived the claimed invention from an inventor named in the petitioner's application, and (ii) the earlier application claiming such invention was filed without authorization.

--see inter partes disputes https://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/america-invents-act-aia/inter-partes-disputes

--see also inter partes review, post grant review and covered business method

descriptive trademark

Trademark that merely describes some aspect of the goods or services without identifying or distinguishing the source of those goods or services. Descriptive trademarks are registrable only in certain circumstances.

design patent

May be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.

-- see also patent

design patent application

An application for a patent for an ornamental design for an article of manufacture.

-- see MPEP 1500
-- see application (patent)
-- see nonprovisional patent application

-- see Design Patent Application Guide

 

design search code

Numerical code assigned to a specific type of design or image, used to search in the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) for trademarks that include that type of design.

Design Search Code Manual

Manual listing numerical codes, called “design search codes,” for various types of designs and images. Design search codes are used to search in the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).

designation

The Contracting States or Contracting Parties for which protection of an invention is sought in an international application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) or in an international design application filed under the Hague Agreement. The filing of a Request in an international PCT application constitutes the designation of all Contracting States bound by the PCT on the international filing date. In an international design application filed under the Hague Agreement, Contracting Parties for which protection is sought must be indicated in the official application form (Form DM/1).

--see Request

--see Form DM/1

-- see 37 CFR 1.432

-- see MPEP 1821

DHCP

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.

DiD

Defense in Depth - multiple layers of security to provide added protection to IT resources.

dilution

Weakening or devaluation of a famous trademark when a similar or identical trademark is used in commerce, even with unrelated goods or services. Owners of famous trademarks can assert a claim of dilution against owners of similar or identical trademarks in an opposition or cancellation proceeding.

disclaimer (patent)

A patentee, whether of the whole or any sectional interest therein, may, on payment of the fee required by law, make disclaimer (giving up all or part of the owner's rights to enforce claims) of any complete claim(s), stating therein the extent of their interest in such patent. Such disclaimers are required to be in writing and recorded in the USPTO, and are considered as part of the original patent to the extent of the interest actually possessed by the disclaimant and by those claiming under him. Any patentee or applicant may disclaim or dedicate to the public the entire term, or any terminal part of the term (from a certain point in time through the projected end of the entire term), of the patent granted or to be granted. There are two types of disclaimers: a statutory disclaimer and a terminal disclaimer.

-- see MPEP 1490

disclaimer (trademarks)

Statement in an application that the applicant does not claim exclusive rights to an unregistrable portion of the trademark, such as a generic word.

disclosure

To obtain a valid patent, a patent application as filed must contain a full and clear disclosure of the invention as prescribed in 35 USC 112(a).

-- see MPEP 608

disclosure document

The USPTO eliminated its Disclosure Document Program on February 1, 2007. For more information, see the Federal Register notice.

distinctive

Able to identify and distinguish a single source of goods or services. Suggestive, arbitrary, and fanciful trademarks are inherently distinctive and immediately serve as trademarks.

divisional application

A later application for an independent or distinct invention, carved out of a non-provisional application (including a nonprovisional application resulting from an international application or international design application), an international application designating the United States, or an international design application designating the United States and disclosing and claiming only subject matter disclosed in the earlier or parent application, is known as a divisional application. 

--see MPEP 201.06

DM/1

An official form established by the International Bureau to be used for presenting an application for international registration of an industrial design under the Hague Agreement. 

-- see WIPO form DM/1  

DNS

Domain Name Service.

DO

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

-- see also Elected Office

docket

A list of cases (applications) awaiting office actions.

doctrine of equivalents

A judicially created theory for finding patent infringement when the accused process or product falls outside the literal scope of the patent claims. The essential objective inquiry is: "Does the accused product or process contain elements identical or equivalent to each claimed element of the patented invention?"

-- see MPEP 2186

domestic benefit claim

A claim for the benefit of the filing date of a prior-filed provisional application, nonprovisional application, international (PCT) application designating the United States, or international design application designating the United States.

-- see 35 USC  119(e), 120, 121, 365(c), 386(c) and MPEP 211

domestic representative

A person residing within the United States who is appointed by a patentee or assignee of a trademark application or registration that does not reside in or is not domiciled within the United States. A domestic representative may be served process or notice of proceedings affecting the application, patent or trademark registration, or related rights.

-- see 35 USC 293, 37 CFR 3.61 and MPEP 302.04

domicile address (trademarks)

The place where an individual applicant resides and intends to be their principal home. Or, for an applicant that is a juristic entity, the principal place of business (i.e., headquarters) where the entity’s senior executives or officers ordinarily direct and control the entity’s activities.

 

drawing (patent)

Patent drawings must show every feature of the invention as specified in the claims. Omission of drawings may cause an application to be considered incomplete but are only required if drawings are necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented.

-- see 37 CFR 1.84

-- see MPEP 608.02

drawing (trademarks)

A depiction of the trademark you want to register, which must be included in an application.

DRM

data reference model - also known as a "data and information reference model" - describes the data and information that support program and line operations. Helps describe the types of interactions that occur between the Federal Government and others. Purpose of a DRM is to establish a commonly understood classification for Federal data that will lead to the identification of duplicative data resources.

-- see Federal Enterprise Architecture for more

DTD

Document type definition - a format specification file that accompanies documents prepared according to SGML (standard generalized markup language), including XML (extensible markup language). It lists the tags or structural labelling for each distinctive section of text, images, or other embedded file object (examples: title, author, etc.) so that the document can be easily shared and worked with in different operating environments.

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E

e-Commerce

Electronic commerce.

e-Gov

Electronic government.

EA

Enterprise architecture.

EAI

Enterprise application integration.

EAST

Examiner Automated Search Tools - a system used by patent examiners within the USPTO.

-- see MPEP 902.03(e)

EBC

Electronic Business Center – assists customers with filing their electronic application submissions.

-- see Patent Electronic Business Center

eDAN

Electronic Desktop Application Navigator.

EDS

Enterprise directory services.

EDW

Enterprise data warehouse.

EFP

Electronic Filing Partnership.

EFS

-- see also EFS-Web

EFS-Web

Electronic Filing System - web-based filing using PDF files.

--see About EFS-Web 

EFS-Web electronic acknowledgement receipt

The acknowledgment receipt contains the "receipt date," the time the correspondence was received at the office (not the local time at the submitter's location), and a full listing of the correspondence submitted. The Electronic Acknowledgement Receipt is the electronic equivalent of a postcard receipt.

-- see MPEP 502.05

-- see also postcard receipt (patent)

EFT

Electronic Funds Transfer.

election (PCT)

The filing of the Demand constitutes the election of all the Contracting States which are designated and are bound by Chapter II and in which applicant intends to use the results of the international preliminary examination.

--see also Demand

--see Chapter II

electronic file

The electronic file record in which the USPTO maintains patent application documents is referred to as an image file wrapper. The electronic file record is the official record of the patent application.

-- see MPEP 719

-- see also Image File Wrapper

electronic file wrapper

a system that provides a way to access electronic copies of the correspondence, documents and other pertinent records used in considering a particular case

Electronic System for Trademark Trials and Appeals (ESTTA)

System used to submit all filings for Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) proceedings

Electronic Trademark Assignment System (ETAS)

System used to submit trademark assignments and ownership change documents for name changes or when your trademark has been transferred to a new owner. We use ETAS submissions to update your application or registration record to reflect these changes.

element

A discretely claimed component of a patent claim.

embodiment

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

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

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.

-- see also DO 

ePAS

Electronic Patent Assignment System.

-- see ePAS e BIZ

EPO

European Patent Office.

ESD

Examination Support Document.

ETC

Emerging Technology Center

ETD

Enterprise Training Division

EU

European Union.

ex parte proceeding

Proceeding at the USPTO involving only a single trademark owner, no third parties

ex parte reexamination

At any time during the enforceability of a patent any person may file a request for the USPTO to conduct a second examination of any claim of the patent on the basis of prior art patents or printed publications which that person states to be pertinent and applicable to the patent and believes to have a bearing on the patentability (see 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 MPEP 2200, 37 CFR 1.501-1.570
-- see also Reexamination Proceeding

examination copy

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

-- see MPEP 110 and 1879.04

examiner's amendment

Amendment to a trademark application made by an examining attorney to speed up the examination process. Applicants give permission to make the amendment in advance, typically through email or over the phone.   

examiner’s amendment (patent)

An amendment which may be used by an examiner to correct informalities in the specification or errors and omissions in the claims of a patent application.

-- see MPEP 1302.04

examining attorney

An attorney at the USPTO who reviews trademark applications to determine if they meet the legal requirements for federal registration.

excusable nonuse

Lapse in a trademark registrant's use of their trademark in commerce for specific goods or services due to special circumstances, which must be approved by the USPTO for the trademark owner to keep their registration.

expedited examination of design applications

A procedure for expedited examination of a design application also known as   The rule applicable to expedited examination is 37 CFR 1.155.  

-- see MPEP 1504.30 and form PTO/SB/27    
-- for expedited review of utility and plant applications see Prioritized Patent Examination Program
 

expired (patent)

A patent that is no longer in force due to the termination of its patent term or for failure to timely pay a maintenance fee. If the most recent maintenance fee due has not been paid and the 'payment window closing date' has passed, the patent is considered expired as of that 'closing date,' with the exception of certain cases where a petition and fee have been filed (recorded in the File History/Transaction History). If a petition has been filed and 'granted,' the patent remains intact but the maintenance fee statement will not be viewable because the fee was paid with the petition fee.

-- see fees and payment

-- see Patent Term Calculator

expired registration

Trademark registration that’s no longer active, so the owner no longer benefits from the rights that come with a federal registration. This happens when the registrant fails to file registration maintenance documents on time.

express abandonment

A patent application may be expressly abandoned by filing a written declaration of abandonment identifying the application signed by an authorized party under 37 CFR 1.33(b)(1) or (b)(3) in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Express abandonment becomes effective when an appropriate official of the office takes action thereon. Express abandonment of the application may not be recognized by the USPTO before the date of issue or publication unless it is actually received by appropriate officials in time to act.

-- see MPEP 711.01

-- see also abandonment

Express Mail (patent)

Effective July 28, 2013, the United States Postal Service (USPS) changed the name of “Express Mail” to “Priority Mail Express®.”  All characteristics of the “Priority Mail Express®” service are the same as those of the former “Express Mail” service (although the mailing labels differ).

-- see also Priority Mail Express® (patent)

-- see 37 CFR 1.10 and MPEP 511-513

express mail mailing label (patent)

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.

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F

family (patent)

-- see also patent family

fanciful trademark

Trademark consisting of invented words that only have meaning in relation to their goods or services.

FAS

Foreign Agricultural Service.

FASAB

Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board.

Fastener Quality Act (FQA)

Requirement that manufacturers of certain fasteners, such as metallic bolts used in airplanes, meet strict quality standards and requirements, that the fasteners bear a readable and permanent insignia identifying the manufacturer, and that the manufacturer record the insignia with the USPTO before selling the fasteners.

FDC

Final Data Capture. When the issue fee is paid and all other requirements have been met (e.g., drawings) for issuance as a patent, the application is then electronically exported to the Final Data Capture (FDC) stage. The FDC makes any updates necessary to the electronic file and places the allowed patent application in issue. The average time that an allowed application is in the FDC process is five weeks (two weeks of processing time for assignment of issue date). The "Issue Notification" is mailed approximately three weeks prior to the issue date of the patent.

-- see MPEP 1309

federal registration

A trademark that has registered on one of the two federal registers, the Principal Register or the Supplemental Register.

fee

An amount of money charged for a particular service or product supplied by the USPTO.

-- see How to Pay Fees fees

FFMIA

Federal Financial Management Improvement Act.

FICC

Federal Identity Credentialing Committee.

file wrapper

-- see image file wrapper

filing basis

Legal basis for filing an application to register a trademark. We accept trademark applications based on:  

  • Use in commerce 
  • Intent to use in commerce 
  • Foreign trademark application 
  • Foreign trademark registration  
  • International registration filed through the Madrid Protocol 

Each one has different requirements before the trademark can be registered.   

filing date

For non-provisional and provisional applications after December 18, 2013, the date of receipt in the office of an application which includes a specification with or without claims.  For design applications, except for a continued prosecution application (CPA), after December 18, 2013, the date of receipt in the office of an application which includes at least one claim, and any required drawings. 

For non-provisional applications, except continued prosecution applications, before December 18, 2013, the date of receipt in the office of an application which includes a specification containing a description, at least one claim, and any required drawings.  For provisional applications, before December 18, 2013, the date of receipt in the office of an application which includes a specification and any required drawings.

For continued prosecution applications (CPA), the date of receipt in the office of a request on a separate paper for an application under 37 CFR 1.53(d). 

-- see MPEP 506 and 601.01

-- see 37 CFR 1.53

filing receipt

Email confirmation that the USPTO received a filing you submitted in the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).

filing receipt (patent)

A correspondence mailed to the attorney or agent, if any, otherwise to the applicant, at the correspondence address of record for each application filed which meets the minimum requirements to receive a filing date. The filing receipt includes the application number, filing date, a confirmation number, a suggested class in the U.S. Patent Classification System, and the number of an art unit where the application is likely to be examined. The filing receipt also includes other information about the application as applicable, such as continuing data, national stage data, foreign priority data, foreign filing license data, entity status information, and the date the office anticipates publishing the application.

-- see MPEP 503

final office action

Office action that restates outstanding issues that an applicant couldn't overcome in their response to a previous office action. When an applicant receives a final office action, they can attempt resolve the remaining issues, file an appeal with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, or both. Otherwise, the application will be abandoned.

Final Office Action (final rejection)

An office action on the second or any subsequent examination or consideration by an examiner that is intended to close the prosecution of a non-provisional patent application. 

-- see MPEP 706.07(b) for when a final rejection is proper on a first office action 

Applicant's reply under 37 CFR 1.113 to a final rejection is limited either to an appeal in the case of rejection of any claim to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (37 CFR 1.191) or to an amendment complying with the requirements set forth in the office action (37 CFR 1.114 or 1.116). Reply to a final rejection must comply with 37 CFR 1.114 or include cancellation of, or appeal from the rejection of, each rejected claim. If any claim stands allowed, the reply to a final rejection must comply with any requirements or objections as to form (37 CFR 1.113(c)). 

-- see MPEP 706.07 

-- see Responding to office Actions 

FISMA

Federal Information Security Management Act.

FMFIA

Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act.

FOIA

Freedom of Information Act.

-- see Freedom of Information Act 

foreign priority claim

Under certain conditions and on fulfilling certain requirements, an application for patent filed in the United States may be entitled to the benefit of the filing date of a prior application filed in a foreign country. The prior application must be a prior foreign application, a prior international (PCT) application designating at least one country other than the United States, or a prior international design application designating at least one country other than the United States.

-- see 35 USC 119(a)-(d) and (f), 172 , 365(a) and (b) , 386(a) and (b) , 37 CFR 1.55 , and MPEP 213 

foreign registration basis

Legal basis you can use to file a U.S. trademark application if you have a foreign registration in your country of origin for the same trademark with the same goods and services. This filing basis is also called Section 44(e). 

-See TMEP section 1001

foreign-domiciled trademark applicant, registrant, or party

Individual or entity whose domicile isn't located in the United States or its territories. 

  • An individual’s domicile is the place the person resides and intends to be the person’s principal home. 
  • An entity’s domicile is its principal place of business (headquarters) where the entity’s senior executives or officers ordinarily direct and control the entity’s activities. 

forms

Forms are provided as either official or unofficial (optional) formats to facilitate providing all information required to initiate desired procedures or respond to official procedural correspondence. Control numbers are assigned to identify each form and customers are usually instructed to locate forms by short form numbers rather than lengthy form titles.

-- see Patent Forms for a list of patent forms

FR

Federal Register.

 

Freedom of Information Act

5 USC 552, allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government.

-- see Electronic Freedom of Information Act

-- see FOIA Request Page for information on how to submit a FOIA request to the USPTO

FTAA

Free Trade Agreement of the Americas

FWC

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.

FY

Fiscal year. The federal fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following calendar year.

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G

GAU

-- see also Group Art Unit

generic term

Common, everyday name for goods or services. Generic terms don't indicate source and can't function as trademarks, so they are not federally registrable.

goods and services

What a trademark is used in connection with. Goods are products, while services are activities performed for consumers.

GPRA

Government Performance and Results Act.

Grant date

The date a patent is issued by the USPTO.  

The date that patent rights can be exercised. U.S. patents are always issued on Tuesdays.

-- Also referred to as issue date

Group

A unit of several Group Art Units in the manufacturing, electrical, chemical, or design area managed by a Group Director. Groups are now referred to as a Technology Center, or TC.

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. Generally, 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 currently identified by a four digit number, i.e., 1642. 

GSA

General Services Administration, an agency of the U. S. government.

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H

Hague Agreement

Refers to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs adopted at Geneva, Switzerland, on July 2, 1999. The United States became a Contracting Party to the Hague Agreement on May 13, 2015. 

Hague Agreement Regulations

Refers to the Common Regulations Under the 1999 Act and the 1960 Act of the Hague Agreement.

having

A transitional phrase used when defining the scope of a claim. Transitional phrases such as “having” must be interpreted in light of the specification to determine whether open or closed claim language is intended.

-- see MPEP 2111.03 Transitional Phrases, subsection OTHER TRANSITIONAL PHRASES for more information.

HLA

High Level Architecture.

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.

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I

IAC

Inventors Assistance Center (formerly Patent Assistance Center). Can be reached by phone at 1-800-786-9199.

-- see IAC webpage

IB

International Bureau - the secretariat of the WIPO which, among other functions, centralizes information of various kinds relating to the protection of intellectual property.

id.

short for "ibid", meaning same as previously cited

IDC

Initial Data Capture - the first phase of the publication process for a patent where the patent file is electronically captured. It takes approximately six weeks from the date that the allowed file is received for the completion of the Initial Data Capture of the application. The application is then sent to the File Maintenance Facility (FMF) for matching of the issue fee and any other correspondence. The application may stay in the FMF for approximately one to two weeks. However, if all requirements are not yet fulfilled the application will remain at the FMF until the requirements are met. Once all files are matched, the application will move to the FDC.

As an electronic message concerning the allowed application is received in the Office of Data Management, immediately after the Notice of Allowance has been mailed. The application is then electronically exported to Initial Data Capture (IDC) for electronic capture of the patent filed. This process takes approximately six weeks. Upon IDC completion, an electronic message is then sent to the File Maintenance Facility to ensure that all post allowance correspondence, fees and drawings have been updated. The application may stay in FMF for one to two weeks or until all post-allowance requirements are met.

IDE

Integrated Development Environment.

identification of goods and/or services

Written statement of which specific goods or services the trademark is or will be used with, which must be included in trademark applications.

 

IDS

-- see Information Disclosure Statement

IFW

image file wrapper

-- see image file wrapper
 

IG

Inspector General - 57 statutory IGs were created by an act of Congress in 1978 to independently detect fraud or instances of waste, abuse or misuse of federal funds and identify operational deficiencies within each of the Departments.

image file wrapper

An electronic system for storage and maintenance of records associated with patent applications. All applications are electronically scanned and loaded into the image file wrapper system upon filing. The image file wrapper contains a complete record of proceedings in the USPTO. The image file wrapper of a patent application that is maintained by the office is the electronic file and is the "official record” of that application. The IFW, if available, is accessible through the PAIR system.

-- see MPEP 719

--see electronic file

 

incontestable trademark

A registered trademark that can only be canceled for very limited reasons. Trademark owners can file a form to declare incontestability if their trademark meets certain requirements, such as continuous use in commerce for at least five years.

independent claim

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

informal application

Trademark application that's been filed but doesn't meet the requirements to receive a filing date. Informal applications are returned to the applicant and not examined.

information disclosure statement (IDS)

A list of all patents, publications, U.S. applications, or other information submitted for consideration by the office in a non-provisional patent application to comply with the duty to disclose to the office information which is material to patentability of the invention claimed in the non-provisional application.

For non-provisional patent applications, individuals associated with the filing and prosecution of a patent application have a duty to disclose to the office all information known to that individual to be material to patentability as defined in 37 CFR 1.56. The provisions of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98 provide a mechanism for compliance with the duty of disclosure provided in 37 CFR  1.56.

The IDS must include a list of all patents, publications, U.S. applications, or other information submitted for consideration by the office. The USPTO provides forms for use in the submission of an IDS, the PTO/SB/08a, PTO/SB/08b, and SB08a – EFS Web.

-- see 37 CFR 1.56, 1.97 and 1.98and MPEP 609
 

infringement

-- see patent infringement

injunction

A court order that either prohibits a party from taking certain actions, or requires them to take certain actions.

intellectual property

Creations of the mind—creative works or ideas embodied in a form that can be shared or can enable others to recreate, emulate, or manufacture them. There are four ways to protect intellectual property: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and/or trade secrets.

intent to use basis

Legal basis you can use to file a trademark application if you haven't started using your trademark in commerce but have a bona fide intention to do so. Your trademark cannot actually be registered until you show that you’ve started using it in commerce and file the proper TEAS form. This filing basis is also called Section 1(b).

inter partes proceeding

Proceeding at the USPTO involving a trademark owner and at least one other third party.

inter partes reexamination

The inter partes reexamination statute and rules permit any third party requester to request, prior to September 16, 2012, inter partes reexamination of a patent which issued from an original application filed on or after November 29, 1999, where the request satisfies certain requirements (see 37 CFR 1.915(b)) and is accompanied by the appropriate fee.

-- see reexamination proceeding

Inter partes reexamination practice primarily differs from ex parte practice in that the third party requestor may file written comments addressing issues raised by the patent owner in a response to office action.

-- see 35 USC 311 and 37 CFR 1.902-1.997 and MPEP 2609
 

inter partes review

A trial proceeding conducted at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to review the patentability of one or more claims in a patent only on a ground that could be raised under §§ 102 or 103, and only on the basis of prior art consisting of patents or printed publications. 

--see also post grant review, covered business method and derivation
 

interference

A proceeding, conducted before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, to determine priority of invention between a pending application and one or more pending applications and/or one or more unexpired patents under Pre-AIA U.S. Patent Law.

-- see MPEP 2300 

international application (patents)

An application for patent filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

international application (trademarks)

allows a trademark owner to seek registration in any of the countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol by filing a single application

international application number

The unique number assigned to a patent application when it is filed, consisting of a three-letter code PCT, a slant, the two letter code of the receiving office, a four digit year indicating the year in which the papers were first received, a slant, and a six digit serial number. (e.g., PCT/SE2004/000001”).

--see WIPO Handbook on Industrial Property Information and Documentation for a code list
 

International Class (IC)

Numbered class within the international system for classifying goods and services. This system categorizes goods and services into classes according to the purpose or function.

international design application

An application filed under the Hague Agreement.

international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter I of the PCT)

A preliminary, non-binding report on whether the claimed invention appears to be patentable. It is issued by the International Bureau on behalf of the International Searching Authority under Chapter I of the PCT where an international preliminary examination report has not been or will not be established. The report has essentially the same contents as the written opinion of the International Searching Authority.

international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT)

A preliminary, non-binding opinion, established by the International Preliminary Examining Authority on the request of the applicant, on the questions whether the claimed invention appears to be novel, to involve an inventive step (to be non-obvious), and to be industrially applicable.

international publication number

A number assigned to each published international application consisting of the two-letter code WO followed by a four-digit indication of the year of publication, a slant, and a six-digit serial number. (e.g., “WO 2004/123456”).

International Trademark Association (INTA)

Global association of brand owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and complementary intellectual property.

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 35 USC 100

inventor

The individual or, if a joint invention, the individuals collectively who invented or discovered the subject matter of the invention. The term joint inventor or co-inventor means any one of the individuals who invented or discovered the subject matter of a joint invention.

-- see MPEP 602.01
-- see also joint inventor and applicant

IP

Intellectual property.

-- see Intellectual Property (IP) Policy

IP

Internet Protocol. The term "IP address" or "ips" refers to the unique network address of a visitor to a website.

IPA

Internet purchasing application.

IPEA

International Preliminary Examining Authority - either a national Office or an intergovernmental organization whose tasks include the establishment of international preliminary reports on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT).

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. As of 1 January 2004, this report is also known as the “international preliminary report on patentability (Chapter II of the PCT).”

 

IPLA

International Patent Legal Administration (formerly PCT Legal Administration) - educates and assists the patent community, develops policy and resolves legal issues relating to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs and other international cooperative patent projects or agreements, such as the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH).

-- see IPLA webpage
 

IPO

Intellectual Property Owners Association.

IPR

Intellectual property rights.

IPR (patent)

Inter partes review

-- see also inter partes review

IRB

Investment Review Board.

ISA

International Search Authority - either a national Office or an intergovernmental organization whose tasks include the establishment of international search reports and written opinions of the International Searching Authority.

ISR

International Search Report (Form PCT/ISA/210), produced by an International Searching Authority, is a report containing citations of published documents considered to be relevant for the claimed invention (relevant prior art), the classification of the subject matter of the invention and an indication of the fields searched as well as indications of any electronic data base searched. It may also contain remarks concerning unity of invention.

issue date

A patent number and issue date will be assigned to an application and an Issue Notification will be mailed after the issue fee has been paid and processed by the USPTO.

The date the USPTO issues the patent. 

 The date that patent rights can be exercised. U.S. patents are always issued on Tuesdays.

-- also referred to as grant date

IT

Information Technology.

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J

J2EE

Java® 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition.

JCCT

Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade - an expansive annual dialogue, usually held in the late fall, that addresses commercial and trade issues between the U.S. and China. JCCT is co-chaired by the USPTO with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

joint application

An application in which the invention is presented as that of two or more persons.

(AIA) If multiple inventors are named in a non-provisional application, each named inventor must have made a contribution, individually or jointly, to the subject matter of at least one claim of the application and the application will be considered to be a joint application under 35 USC 116. If multiple inventors are named in a provisional application, each named inventor must have made a contribution, individually or jointly, to the subject matter disclosed in the provisional application and the provisional application will be considered to be a joint application under 35 USC 116.

(Pre-AIA) If multiple inventors are named in a non-provisional application, each named inventor must have made a contribution, individually or jointly, to the subject matter of at least one claim of the application and the application will be considered to be a joint application under 35 USC 116 (pre-AIA). If multiple inventors are named in a provisional application, each named inventor must have made a contribution, individually or jointly, to the subject matter disclosed in the provisional application and the provisional application will be considered to be a joint application under 35 USC 116 (pre-AIA).

-- see MPEP 602.09; also joint inventor

joint inventor

An inventor who is named with at least one other inventor in a patent application, wherein each inventor contributes to the conception (creation) of the invention set forth in at least one claim in a patent application.

-- see MPEP 602.09 and 2137.01 and 37 CFR 1.45; also joint application and co-inventor

jpg

JPG file type extension or JPEG - "Joint Photographic Experts Group" - is one of several digital image formats that are viewable in web browsers. JPEG image files are encoded using a standard for file compression (making the files smaller) that preserves essential color and display information in a fairly photorealistic way, with smooth edges, shapes and color blends. JPEG files are generally preferred for displaying still image photographs in digital form. The JPEG format is "lossy," meaning some information is lost when an image is compressed. This accounts for the "fuzziness" and patchy color areas what you may see when lower resolution JPEG images are enlarged to fill a space on the screen.

JPO

Japan Patent Office.

JPTOS

Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society - a quarterly-published journal writing on topics of patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

-- see JPTOS website

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K

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).

-- see USPTO kind codes 

Detailed information on Standard ST. 16 and the use of kind codes by patent offices throughout the world is available on the WIPO website.

KIPO

Korean Intellectual Property Office.

KSA

Knowledge, skills, and abilities (as pertaining to job qualifications).

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L

lawyer

-- see attorney

legal entity

An individual or organization with legal rights and obligations who is capable of participating in legal processes, such as owning property, entering into a contract, suing, or being sued.

letters patent

-- see patent

license

Permission to take certain actions that would otherwise be unlawful or infringing. For instance, a trademark owner may grant a license allowing someone else to use their trademark.

licensee

A party who has been granted a license that permits them to take actions that would otherwise be unlawful or infringing. For instance, a trademark owner may grant a license allowing someone else to use their trademark.

licensor

A party who grants a license to permit another party to take actions that would otherwise be unlawful or infringing. For instance, a trademark owner may grant a license allowing someone else to use their trademark.

LIE

Legal instruments examiner - a position classification for USPTO employees charged with docketing cases and other administrative processing that support the workflow and examination of applications.

See also TSS
 

likelihood of confusion

Grounds to refuse to register the trademark in your application when it conflicts with a similar trademark that's registered for goods or services related to yours. If both trademarks were in use in commerce at the same time, it would likely cause confusion for consumers, who may not be able to determine the source of the goods or services.

litigation

A lawsuit or the process of carrying one out.

live application or registration

Active application or registration, which can be used to bar registration of a trademark in a new application if the trademarks conflict.

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M

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 any of the countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol by filing a single application, called an "international application."

-- see TMEP Chapter 1900 for more

Madrid Protocol basis

Legal basis that allows trademark owners to use the Madrid International Trademark System to apply for a U.S. registration. This system allows trademark owners to register and manage trademarks worldwide. This filing basis is also called Section 66(a). 

 

maintenance fees

Fees for maintaining in force a patent based on a utility patent application filed on or after December 12, 1980.

-- see MPEP 2500

mark

Trademark, service mark, certification mark, collective trademark, collective service mark, or collective membership mark.

Markush doctrine

When materials recited in a claim are so related as to constitute claiming the members of the claimed group in the alternative, such as "selected from the group consisting of A, B and C."

-- see MPEP 803.02 and 2173.05(h) for more

MARS

Machine-Assisted Reference Section.

mask work

A series of related images, however fixed or encoded — (1) having or representing the predetermined, three-dimensional pattern of metallic, insulating, or semiconductor material present or removed from the layers of a semiconductor chip product; and (2) in which series the relation of the images to one another is that each image has the pattern of the surface of one form of the semiconductor chip product.

-- see MPEP Appendix R, SUBCHAPTER C, PROTECTION OF FOREIGN MASK WORKS PART 150

material alteration

Amending the drawing of a trademark to the point that it no longer creates the impression of being essentially the same as the trademark in your initial application or registration. Amendments that materially alter the trademark aren't allowed at any point after the application is submitted.

mere descriptiveness

The grounds for refusing to register a trademark because it merely describes some aspect of the goods or services without identifying or distinguishing the source of those goods or services.

micro entity

An applicant for patent that enjoys a 75% reduction in certain patent fees upon establishing micro entity status, either by certifying a gross income below a prescribed limit (see Form PTO/SB/15A) or by certifying that the applicant’s employer is an institution of higher education (see Form PTO/SB/15B). 

-- see MPEP 509.04 - 509.04(f); 37 CFR 1.29
-- see also small entity

MPEP

Manual of Patent Examining Procedure.

-- see MPEP

multiple dependent claim

Generally, a multiple dependent claim is a dependent claim which refers back in the alternative to more than one preceding independent or dependent claim.

-- see 37 CFR 1.75 and MPEP 608.01(n)(I)

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N

national stage application

An international application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty that enters the national phase of processing in a designated or elected office. In the United States, a national stage application results from the filing of a submission to enter the national phase under 35 USC 371.

Native American Tribal Insignia

Official insignia of a Native American tribe. Tribes may submit their insignias to be entered in our database to aid us in examining trademark applications, so we don't register a trademark that suggests a false connection with their tribe.

NIPLECC

National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council. NIPLECC is an interagency group responsible for coordinating the U.S.' domestic and international intellectual property enforcement activities. NIPLECC includes as one of its co-chairs, the Director of the USPTO. Other members include the Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, also co-chair, the Undersecretary of State for Economics, Business and Agricultural Affairs, the Deputy United States Trade Representative, the Commissioner of Customs and the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

NOA (patents)

Notice of Allowance

NOCC

Network Operations Control Center.

non-final office action (rejection)

An office action made by the examiner where the applicant is entitled to reply and request reconsideration and/or further examination, with or without making an amendment.

On taking up an application for examination or a patent in a reexamination proceeding, the examiner is required to make a thorough study of the application and of the available prior art relating to the subject matter of the claimed invention. This examination must be complete with respect to:

  • compliance of the application or patent under reexamination with the applicable statutes and rules
  • the patentability of the invention as claimed
  • matters of form, unless otherwise indicated.

-- see MPEP 706; 37 CFR 1.104
-- see Responding to office actions

 

non-lawyer

a person who is not an attorney or lawyer.

-- see 37 CFR § 10.14(b)

non-profit 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 USC 501(c)(3)) and exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 USC 501(a)); (3) any nonprofit scientific or educational organization qualified under a nonprofit organization statute of a state of this country (35 USC 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 509.02 if it were located in this country.

non-provisional patent application

A non-provisional application is either a U.S. national application for patent which was filed in the office under 35 USC 111(a), an international application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty in which the basic national fee under 35 USC 41(a)(1)(F) has been paid, or an international design application filed under the Hague Agreement in which the office has received a copy of the international registration pursuant to Article 10 of the Hague Agreement. An application for patent filed under 35 USC 111(a) includes utility, design, plant, and reissue applications but does not include provisional applications. Non-provisional applications satisfying the applicable requirements will be examined in due course. A non-provisional utility patent application includes a specification, including a claim or claims; drawings, when necessary; an oath or declaration; and the prescribed filing fee.

-- see General information concerning patents for guides for each type of patent application

non-responsive amendment

An amendment filed by the applicant that does not fully respond to the examiner's office action in accordance with 37 CFR 1.111.

-- see MPEP 714.02

nonfinal office action

Official letter from the USPTO raising issues with the trademark or the application itself, called "refusals" and "requirements," that could prevent the trademark from being registered. An applicant can submit a response to a nonfinal office action, and may be able to overcome the issues.

normal publication

regular 18-month publication or redacted publication.

notice of abandonment

Written notice from the USPTO that an application is no longer active or pending, so the trademark can't mature into a registration unless the application is revived or reinstated.

notice of abandonment (patent)

A written notification from the USPTO to the patent applicant that an application has been abandoned or, i.e., it is no longer pending.

-- see MPEP 711

notice of allowability

A written notification from the USPTO to the patent applicant that the application has been allowed.

-- see MPEP 1302.03

notice of allowance (NOA) (trademarks)

Written notice from the USPTO that an applicant's Statement of Use is due within six months, and that they may request to extend the deadline if they need more time to show proper use of their trademark in commerce with the goods or services in the application. Notices of Allowance are only sent to applicants who filed their application based on intent to use in commerce. 

notice of allowance (patent)

A notification to the applicant that they are entitled to a patent under the law and requesting payment of a specified issue fee (and possibly a publication fee as well) within three months (non-extendable) from the mailing date of the notice of allowance.

-- see MPEP 1303

notice of allowance (patents)

A correspondence sent to an applicant for patent if, on examination, it appears that the applicant is entitled to a patent under the law. Such correspondence shall specify a sum constituting the issue fee and any required publication fee which, both of which must be paid within three months from the mail-date of the notice of allowance to avoid abandonment.

-- see MPEP 1303 and 37 CFR 1.311

notice of allowance and fees due

NOA, a notification to the applicant that they are entitled to a patent under the law and requesting payment of a specified issue fee (and possibly a publication fee as well) within three months (non-extendable) from the mailing date of the notice of allowance

-- see MPEP 1303 Notice of Allowance for more

notice of publication

Written notice from the USPTO that an applicant's trademark will be published online for opposition in the Trademark Official Gazette and the date it will be published.

notice of references cited

Also known as a PTO-892 form. A list of relevant references cited by a patent examiner in an Office action. The following are some examples of such references: domestic patents, domestic patent application publications, foreign patents or patent publications, publications, electronic documents, and affidavits.

--see 37 CFR 1.104 and MPEP 707.05 for more

notification of refusal

A notification sent by an office of a designated Contracting Party in an international design application refusing the effects of international registration, in whole or in part, in the territory of that Contracting Party, where the conditions for the grant of protection under the law of that Contracting Party are not met in respect of any or all of the designs that are the subject of an international registration. 

NPL

non-patent literature (NPL) (patent)--documents and publications that are not patents or published patent applications but are cited as references for being relevant in a patent prosecution, such as abstracts, scientific journal articles, other scholarly works (e.g., a doctoral thesis) newspapers, magazine articles, etc.

-- see MPEP 707.05(e)

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O

OACS

Office Action Correspondence System – a software program used by patent examiners to generate office actions. The OACS system was phased out and replaced by the Office Correspondence (OC) system during fiscal year (FY) 2018.

-- see OC

oath

An oath or declaration under 35 USC 115. An oath or declaration must be filed in each application for patent (other than a provisional application).

AIA: for applications filed on or after September 16, 2012, an oath or declaration which includes the new statutory statements: 

  1. The application was made or authorized to be made by the person executing the declaration, 
  2. The individual believes himself or herself to be the original inventor or an original joint inventor of a claimed invention in the application, and 
  3. An acknowledgment of penalties clause referring to fine or imprisonment of not more than five years, or both. 

Pre-AIA: for applications filed before September 16, 2012, an oath or declaration  which an applicant for patent (1) states that he or she is the original or sole inventor, (2) states his or her citizenship, (3) states that he or she has reviewed and understands the contents of the specification and claims which the oath or declaration refers to, and (4) acknowledges the duty to disclose information that is material to patentability as defined by 37 CFR 1.56. 

-- see 35 USC 115; 37 CFR 1.63, 1.64 and 1.66; MPEP 602 and form AIA/01  (for applications filed on or after September 16, 2012 and form PTO/SB/01  (for applications filed before September 16, 2012)
-- see AIA inventor’s Oath or Declaration Quick Reference Guide 
-- see also substitute statement

OBI

Originating Beneficiary Information - the informational portion of a wire (electronic) transfer of funds. It is a necessary and important element, providing the USPTO information as to why the "wire" was sent, by whom, and how to apply the payment.

OBRA

Omnibus Budget and Reconciliation Act of 1990, which mandated that the USPTO become fully supported by user fees to fund its operations.

OC

Office Correspondence – a software program used by patent examiners to generate office actions. The OC system was phased in to replace the current system entitled Office Action Correspondence System (OACS) during fiscal year (FY) 2018.

OED

Office of Enrollment and Discipline.
The Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) is responsible for registering attorneys and agents to practice before the USPTO and for developing and administering the registration examination. Additionally, the OED investigates allegations of misconduct by practitioners and administers and oversees the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program.

-- see OED

 

OEIP

Office of Electronic Information Products.

office action

Official letter from the USPTO about a trademark application or registration that raises issues that could prevent a trademark applicant from receiving a registration or could prevent a trademark registrant from maintaining their registration.

office of indirect filing

The office of applicant’s Contracting Party through which an international design application under the Hague Agreement may be filed.

--see applicant’s Contracting Party

office of origin (trademarks)

-the government trademark office in a country that is a member of the Madrid Protocol.

For applicants who file for an extension of protection of an international registration to the United States under Trademark Act Section 66(a), the country of the office of origin is where the applicant is a national, domiciliary, or has a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment.

-- see Madrid Protocol

OG

Official Gazette - weekly publication of the USPTO that includes regular and special notices of the Office.

-- see Official Gazette

OG - Patents

Official Gazette eOG:P - weekly publication of the USPTO that permits you to browse issued patents and view important notices.

OGC

Office of General Counsel.

The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is concerned with defense of agency decisions in court and administrative tribunals, internal agency legal advice, and regulation of persons practicing before the USPTO.

-- see OGC

OHR

Office of Human Resources - provides the leadership, policies, programs, services and systems necessary to meet the human resources requirements of the United States Patent and Trademark Office workforce.

-- see OHR

 

OIG

Office of the Inspector General. 

Fifty-seven statutory OIGs were created by an act of Congress in 1978 to independently detect fraud or instances of waste, abuse or misuse of federal funds and identify operational deficiencies within each of the Departments.

-- see IG

OIPC

Office of International Patent Cooperation.

-- see OIPC

OIPE

Office of Initial Patent Examination

OMB

Office of Management and Budget, a branch of The Executive Office of the President

-- see OMB 

OPAP

Office of Patent Application Processing - performs initial processing for all new U.S. and PCT applications to ensure that applications are in condition for examination, Pre-Grant Publication, or ready for transmission to the International Bureau.

-- see Office of Patent Application Processing

OPF

Official Personnel File.

OPLA

Office of Patent Legal Administration.

-- see Office of Patent Legal Administration
 

 

OPM

Office of Personnel Management - an agency of the U. S. government responsible for personnel administration of all federal employees.

opposition proceeding

Proceeding that can be initiated by anyone who believes they'll be damaged by the registration of someone else's trademark. Opposition proceedings are handled by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, and they occur after a trademark has been published for opposition, but before it's been registered.

OPR

Formerly, Office of Public Records; now known as Public Records Division (PRD).

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 201.02
-- see also
nonprovisional patent application
-- see also provisional patent application

OTPP

Office of Technical Plans and Policy.

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P

PAC

Public Advisory Committee
The Public Advisory Committees for the USPTO were created by statute in the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO on the management of the patent and the trademark operations. The Public Advisory Committees consist of citizens of the United States chosen to represent the interests of the diverse users of the USPTO. The Public Advisory Committees review the policies, goals, performance, budget, and user fees of the patent and trademark operations, respectively, and advise the Director on these matters. Appointments to the Public Advisory Committees are made by the Secretary of Commerce.

 

PAIR

Patent Application Information Retrieval - provides secure access for customers who want to view current patent application status electronically via the Internet

-- see Patent EBC

PALM

Patent Application Locating and Monitoring system - an internal USPTO system that is the source of status information displayed in PAIR.

PAR

Performance and Accountability Report.

-- see Annual Reports 

parent application

The term "parent" is applied to an earlier application of the inventor disclosing a given invention

--see MPEP 201.04 for more

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, non-provisional patent application, plant patent, provisional patent application, reexamination proceedings, reissue application, utility patent

Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL)

A library designated by the USPTO to receive copies of patents, CD-ROMs containing registered and pending marks, and patent and trademark materials that are made available to the public for free. As of October 1st, 2011 these libraries have been renamed and are referred to as Patent and Trademark Resource Centers (PTRCs). The term "PDTL" is no longer used.  

-- see PTRC for a list of locations

patent application

-- see application (patent)
-- see How to Get a Patent for guides for each type of patent application

patent application publication

Pre-grant publication of patent application at 18 months from priority date. A published application as used in this chapter means an application for patent which has been published under 35 USC 122(b).

--see MPEP 1120-21 and 37 CFR 1.215

patent family

A patent family is the same invention disclosed by a common inventor(s) and patented in more than one country.

-- see MPEP 901.07

patent infringement

Unauthorized making, using, offering to sell, selling, or importing into the United States any patented invention.

-- see 35 USC 271(a)

patent number

Unique identification number assigned to a patent application when it issues as a patent.

-- see patent numbering formats for an explanation of the codes that appear in a patent number

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.

patentable

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

payor number

-- see customer number

PBG

Patent Business Goals.

PBG Final Rule

Patent Business Goals Final Rule - implement streamlined patent practice; a result of the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999.

PBX

Private Branch Exchange - a telephony term describing a private telephone network used within an enterprise. Users of the PBX share a certain number of outside lines for making external telephone calls.

PCT

Patent Cooperation Treaty (more)

Provides a mechanism by which an applicant can file a single international application that, when certain requirements have been fulfilled, is equivalent to a regular national filing in each designated Contracting State.  

--see a list of PCT Contracting States

PCT Regulations

Rules established under the Patent Cooperation Treaty setting forth certain requirements, procedures, and other matters concerning the implementation of the provisions of the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The rules must be adopted by the Assembly of WIPO.

PDF

Portable Document Format - a common proprietary document format from Adobe used for documents having mixtures of text and images that preserves the look and feel of a printed page and permits the user to zoom and magnify the pages when viewing; not "archival" because of its proprietary nature.

PDX

The electronic Priority Document Exchange program between national intellectual property offices used to streamline and simplify applicant’s requirement to provide copies of priority documents.

PEAI

Patent Enterprise Access Integration.
The PEAI will provide full content access within the IFW by USPTO personnel and customers as well as full content access to EPO and JPO.

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 37 CFR 1.27(a) and MPEP 509.02

petition

A petition is a signed, written request for specific relief presented to the office.

petition to revive an application (trademarks)

Written request you can submit to the USPTO if your application is abandoned, requesting that we return your application to an active status and continue the examination process.

 

petitions (patent matters)

Petitions regarding the filing of patent applications, revival of abandoned applications, reinstatement of expired patents, withdrawal of patent applications from issue, small entity entitlement, review of previous decisions of the Technology Centers, suspension of regulations, and questions not specifically provided for by regulations are administered by the Office of Petitions within the Office of Patent Examination Policy.

--see Patent Petitions Timeline 

--see the ePetition Resource Page for information regarding the submission of ePetitions 

Petitions, Office of (patent matters)

Reviews and decides petitions, requests, and related inquiries, regarding the filing of patent applications, revival of abandoned applications, reinstatement of expired patents, withdrawal of patent applications from issue, small entity entitlement, review of previous decisions of the Technology Centers, suspension of regulations, and questions not specifically provided for by regulations. The Office of Petitions also manages the Inventor Assistance Center (IAC). THE IAC provides patent information and services to the public. The IAC is staffed by former Supervisory Patent Examiners and experienced Primary Examiners who answer general questions concerning patent examining policy and procedure.

-- see MPEP 711.03 and Petitions Practice within the USPTO on Patent Matters

PG Pub

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

PKI

Public Key Infrastructure.
A system of administrative procedures and methods, combined with secure information technologies, that is used to manage secure electronic commerce. Helps securely identify participants in electronic transactions as well as secure transmission and handling of data.

plaintiff

The party who files a lawsuit against another party.

plant application (patent)

Applications to protect invented or discovered, asexually reproduced plant varieties.

-- see also nonprovisional patent application
-- see also provisional patent application

plant patent

May be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.

-- see also patent

PLT

Patent Law Treaty.

--see  PLT

PMO

Program Management Office.

POA

Power of Attorney - formal assignment to another of the right to legally act on your behalf.

POIS

Patent Cooperation Treaty Operations Imaging System.

Post grant review

A trial proceeding conducted at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to review the patentability of one or more claims in a patent on any ground that could be raised under 35 USC 282(b)(2) or (3).

--see Post Grant Review  and https://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/america-invents-act-aia/inter-partes-disputes

--see also inter partes review, covered business method and derivation

 

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.

-- see also EFS web electronic acknowledgement receipt (patent)

POWER

Patent Cooperation Treaty Operations Workflow and Electronic Review

PPAC

Patent Public Advisory Committee.
Reviews the policies, goals, performance, budget, and user fees of patent operations, respectively, and advises the director on these matters.

PPS

PowerPoint Show file.
A type of encapsulated, non-editable Microsoft slideshow.

PPT

PowerPoint file.
A native, editable type of Microsoft slideshow file.

practitioner

Registered patent practitioners are individuals who have passed the USPTO's registration exam and met the qualifications to represent patent applicants before the USPTO.

See https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/patent-and-trademark-practitioners 

-- see also attorney, agent
 

PRD

Public Records Division.

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.

primary examiner

A patent examiner who is fully authorized to sign office actions making patentability determinations (i.e., has “signatory authority”).

Principal Register

The primary trademark register administered and maintained by the USPTO. Only trademarks that are distinctive can be registered on the Principal Register, which provides the greatest protection for trademark owners.

Prioritized Patent Examination Program (Track One)

A procedure for expedited review of a utility or plant patent application for an additional fee. The USPTO’s goal for prioritized examination is to provide a final disposition within twelve months of prioritized status being granted. The rule applicable to prioritized examination is 37 CFR 1.102(e). Prioritized examination of newly filed applications is also known as “Track One” or “Track I.”  Prioritized examination will not be accorded to design applications, reissue applications, provisional applications, international applications that have not entered the national stage under 35 USC 371, or reexamination proceedings. For expedited examination of design applications see Expedited Examination of design applications. 

--see USPTO's Prioritized Patent Examination Program
--see also MPEP 708.02(b) and form AIA/424 available on the PTO forms page   
 

priority action

Official letter an examining attorney sends to an applicant or their attorney after consulting with them. It lists specific actions the applicant must take to address the refusals or requirements discussed so that their trademark can be approved for publication or registration.

priority claim (patent)

-- see domestic benefit claim and/or foreign priority claim

priority filing date based on a foreign application

Legal basis you can use to file a U.S. trademark application if you've filed an application in a foreign country within the last six months. Both applications must be for the same trademark with the same goods or services. This filing basis gives your U.S. application the same effective filing date as your foreign application. It's also called Section 44(d). 

-See TMEP section 1001

Priority Mail Express® (patent)

Patent correspondence delivered to the USPTO via the "Priority Mail Express® Post Office to Addressee" service of the United States Postal Service (USPS). Correspondence sent by the Priority Mail Express® is considered filed in the Office on the “date accepted” entered by the USPS on the Priority Mail Express® mailing label.

-- see 37 CFR 1.10 and MPEP 511-513

PRM

Performance Reference Model.
A standardized framework to measure the performance of major IT investments and their contribution to program performance.

-- see Federal Enterprise Architecture

Pro Se

Used to designate an inventor who has elected to file an application or prosecute a patent application before the USPTO without the services of a licensed practitioner.  

-- see Pro Se Assistance Program

provisional patent application

A provisional application for patent is a U. S. national application for patent filed in the USPTO under 35 USC  111(b). A provisional application is not required to contain a formal patent claim, oath or declaration, or any information disclosure statement. A provisional application can serve as the basis for a benefit claim under 35 USC 119(e) to establish an early effective filing date in a non-provisional patent application filed under 35 USC 111(a) or 363 and automatically becomes abandoned after one year. It also allows the term "Patent Pending" to be applied.

-- see provisional patent application 
-- see also MPEP 201.04
 

PRPS

Patent Review Processing System - the PTAB’s e-filing (EF) and case management (CM) system for trial proceedings.  Replaced by PTAB E2E in 2016.

pseudo mark

An alternate spelling or an improper spelling that's phonetically equivalent to a trademark in an application. Pseudo marks are entered in our database for each trademark to aid in searching for similar sounding trademarks.

PSIPS

Publication Site for Issued and Published Sequences

-- also see bio-sequence listings

PSTN

Public Switched Telephone Network.

PTA

Patent Term Adjustment.

-- see MPEP 2700 
-- see PTA Calculation 

PTAB

Patent Trial and Appeal Board - conducts trials, including inter partes, post-grant, and covered business method patent reviews, interference and derivation proceedings, hears appeals from adverse examiner decisions in patent applications and reexamination proceedings.

-- see PTAB
-- see PTAB E2E 

 

PTAB E2E

PTAB’s e-filing (EF) and case management (CM) system for trial proceedings .

-- see PTAB E2E

PTE

Patent Term Extension.

-- see MPEP 2700 
-- see PTE Calculation 

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).

PTOL

A type of form designation such as Form PTOL, meaning a Patent and Trademark Office Legal form.

PTOS

Patent and Trademark Office Society
The Patent and Trademark Office Society is for Patent and Trademark professionals and other interested individuals. Founded in 1917, the Society is today internationally recognized for its activities in the patent and trademark fields. From its inception, the Society has actively influenced the patent and trademark systems - promoting the systems' growth and well-being, recalling our rich heritage and promoting the social and intellectual welfare of our members.

PTRC

Patent and Trademark Resource Centers are libraries designated by the USPTO to receive copies of patents, CD-ROMs containing registered and pending marks, and patent and trademark materials that are made available to the public for free. Prior to October 1st, 2011 these libraries were referred to as Patent and Trademark Deposit Libraries (PDTLs). The term "PDTL" is no longer used.

-- see PTRC program

publication for opposition

Publishing of a trademark in the Trademark Official Gazette, which begins the 30-day opposition period. During this period, anyone who believes they’ll be damaged by the registration of someone else’s trademark can initiate an opposition proceeding. 

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.

Pubs

Patent Publication, Office of

-- see Patent Publication

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R

RAM

Revenue Accounting and Management System

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 

RE

Reexamination. 

-- see MPEP 2200

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. 

recordation form cover sheet

USPTO form that patent owners use to record patent and/or patent application assignments. The form PTO-1595 may be used as the cover sheet. The form must include: 

  1. The name of the party conveying the interest;
  2. The name and address of the party receiving the interest;  
  3. A description of the interest conveyed or transaction to be recorded;  
  4. Each patent application number or patent number against which the document is to be recorded, or an indication that the document is filed together with a patent application;  
  5. The name and address of the party to whom correspondence concerning the request to record the document should be mailed;  
  6. The date the document was executed; and  
  7. The signature of the party submitting the document

-- see MPEP 302.07

redacted publication

A patent application publication that omits material that was present in the specification or claims of the non-provisional patent application filed in the USPTO.  

-- see 37 CFR 1.217 and MPEP 1132 

reexamination proceeding

At any time during the enforceability of a patent any person may file a request for the USPTO to conduct a second examination of any claim of the patent on the basis of prior art patents or printed publications which that person states to be pertinent and applicable to the patent and believes to have a bearing on the patentability (see 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 USC 302, 37 CFR 1.510 and MPEP 2209, et seq. 

reference (prior art)

-- see MPEP 900 for information

registration basis

Legal basis for receiving your trademark registration, which is usually the same as your application filing basis. Your filing basis can be your registration basis unless you filed based solely on a foreign application. If so, you must add a registration basis before your trademark can be registered.

registration certificate

Certificate issued to a trademark owner when their trademark is federally registered. It documents the trademark, owner’s details, registration date, goods and services, and other important details.

registration number

A registered patent attorney/agent is assigned a registration number that they must include on patent correspondence and forms when representing others before the USPTO; individual applicants do not have a registration number and should leave this field blank on patent forms. 

-- see the searchable online Patent Attorney Agent Roster to locate registered patent attorneys and agents 

registration number (trademarks)

Unique number assigned to a trademark when it's registered, used to look up and track the registration in our systems and required when filing forms to maintain the registration. The registration number is different from the application serial number.

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 
-- see also non-provisional patent application 
-- see also provisional patent application 

rejoinder

The rejoining (returning to active consideration) of claims previously withdrawn from consideration to due to a restriction requirement. 

-- see restriction 

-- see MPEP 821.04 

 

renewal

Maintenance filing a trademark registrant must submit at regular intervals for the life of the trademark registration.

representative capacity

A registered patent practitioner who is authorized to represent a particular party in a patent case upon whose behalf he or she is acting but without power of attorney. 

-- see 37 CFR 1.34 
-- see also attorney, agent 

REPS

Re-examination Processing System

Request (PCT)

The request (Form PCT/RO/101) is the part of the international application that contains a petition for the international application to be processed according to the Patent Cooperation Treaty and which also contains certain indications relating to designated States in which protection is sought, the invention, applicant(s), inventor(s), and any agent.

request for extension of time for patent owner response

A patent owner can submit a request for an extension of time to file a response in a variety of circumstances. 

request for extension of time to file a statement of use

A request to extend the deadline for filing a Statement of Use by six months at a time.

request for extension of time to file an opposition

A request to extend the deadline to oppose a trademark that's been published, but not registered, by up to 90 days.

request to reinstate an application

Written request that the USPTO return an abandoned application to an active status and continue the examination process when the application was abandoned due to USPTO error.

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 

review proceeding

An inter partes review, post grant review, or the transitional post-grant review for covered business method partes, or derivation proceeding by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.   

-- see MPEP 2286.01 and http://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/america-invents-act-aia/inter-partes-disputes 

--see also inter partes review, post grant review, covered business method and derivation 

RO

Receiving Office - the national Office or the intergovernmental organization with which an international application is filed and which processes the application in accordance with the PCT and its Regulations.

Rospatent

The Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property. 

RPO

Recovery Point Objective

RTO

Recovery Time Objective.

RUP

Rational Unified Process.

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S

S&T

Science and technology.

SAFE

Secure Application Filed Electronically.

SAN

Storage Area Network.

SB

"SB" is used as part of the label in our form designations (e.g., PTO/SB/05). The origin of this notation is a Specimen Book (no longer in use) that included all of the forms.  

scope

The breadth of subject matter that is covered by something - as in the scope of a claim.

SCORE

Supplemental Complex Repository for Examiners.

SCP

Standing Committee on the Law of Patents.

SDM

System Development Manager.

search

In the examination of an application for patent, an examiner must conduct a thorough search of the prior art. The examiner, after having obtained a thorough understanding of the invention disclosed and claimed in the non-provisional application, then searches the prior art as disclosed in patents and other published documents, i.e., non-patent literature (NPL). An inventor name search is also performed to identify other applications and/or patents which may be applicable as references for double patenting rejections. A proper search normally includes both a textual search and a classification search. Inventors are encouraged to search the USPTO's patent database to see if a patent has already been filed or granted that is similar to your patent. Patents may be searched in the USPTO Patent Full-Text and Image Database (PatFT). The USPTO houses full text for patents issued from 1976 to present and PDF images for all patents from 1790 to present. 

-- see Search for patents
-- see MPEP 904-904.03 

search copy

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

SEAS

Secure Environment Access Solution.

Section 15 Declaration of Incontestability

Optional declaration a trademark registrant can file to strengthen their trademark rights if they're eligible. Trademark owners can file a form to declare incontestability if their registered trademark meets certain requirements, such as continuous use in commerce for at least five years. Incontestable registrations can only be canceled for very limited reasons.

Section 8 declaration of use or excusable nonuse

Maintenance filing a trademark owner must submit periodically to maintain their registration. Generally, the owner must provide evidence that they're still properly using their trademark in commerce with the goods or services in the registration. In special circumstances, they may request to be temporarily excused from using their trademark.

Section 9 Renewal Application

Maintenance filing a trademark registrant must submit every 10 years to maintain their registration.

sequence listing

-- see bio-sequence listing

serial number

A six digit 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 each serial set of 1 million applications filed.

series code

A two digit code representing a serial set of 1 million applications filed.

service component

A self-contained business process or service with predetermined functionality that may be exposed through a business or technology interface. 

-- see SCM [PDF]

service mark (SM)

A word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies the source of services. If you provide services to consumers, your service mark is how customers recognize you in the marketplace and distinguish you from your competitors. Service marks are commonly referred to as "trademarks."

SF

A type of form designation such as Form SF51, meaning a Standard Form used throughout the Federal Government.

SFFAC

Statements of Federal Financial Accounting Concepts.

SFFAS

Statements of Federal Financial Accounting Standards.

SIPO

State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China.

SIR

Statutory Invention Registration - a published statutory invention registration contains the specification and drawings of a regularly filed non-provisional 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 non-provisional application for patent, or may be filed later during pendency of the non-provisional application. 

-- see MPEP 1100 

SIRA

Search and Information Resources Administration, an organizational unit of the Patent business area. 

-- see Patent Resources and Planning

SITP

Strategic Information Technology Plan.

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

small entity

For purposes of small entity determination per MPEP 509.02 – “small entity” means an independent inventor, a small business concern, or a nonprofit organization eligible for reduced patent fees. 

-- see MPEP 509.02 
-- see also micro entity

SMART

Standards, Mentor, Attempt, Review, Transition -- an informal development program used for USPTO's OCIO employees that identifies standards to work towards and establishes a mentoring relationship between managers and their employees who must meet these standards.

special form drawing

Depiction of the trademark you want to register if it includes stylized text (such as text in a particular font style or color), or a design element (such as an image or logo, with or without color).

specification

A written description of the claimed invention and the manner and process of making and using the claimed invention. The specification is required to be in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which the invention or discovery appertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the claimed invention. The specification shall conclude with one or more claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the inventor or a joint inventor regards as the invention. 

-- see 35 U.S.C. 112 and MPEP 608.01

specimen (trademarks)

Real-life example showing how you use your trademark in commerce with your goods or services. It could show the trademark on your goods, their packaging, or in point-of-sale displays, or in the sale, rendering, or advertising of your services. Specimens must be submitted for certain applications and registration maintenance filings.

SRM

Service Reference Model - also known as a Service Component Reference Model -- a business and performance-driven, functional framework that classifies Service Components with respect to how they support business and/or performance objectives; structured across horizontal and vertical service domains that, independent of the business functions, can provide a leverage-able foundation to support the reuse of applications, application capabilities, components, and business services.

-- see Federal Enterprise Architecture for more

SSP

Shortened Statutory Period - a time period which an examiner may set (generally two months) during which an applicant must supply the omission to the previous reply to avoid abandonment. This is typically invoked when a bona fide attempt to reply to an office action includes an inadvertent omission that precludes action on the merits of the application. 

-- see MPEP 710.02

standard character drawing

Depiction of the trademark you want to register if it only includes text, numbers, punctuation, or a combination, with no design, color, or stylization. Provides the broadest protection for a trademark. When registered, you have rights to use the trademark regardless of font style, color, or other stylization of the text.

statement of grant of protection

A notification communicated in an international design application under the Hague Agreement by the office of a designated Contracting Party to the International Bureau indicating that protection is granted in the Contracting Party concerned to all or some of the industrial designs that are the subject of international registration. 

statement of net cost

Compares fees earned to costs incurred during a specific period of time. It is not necessarily an indicator of net income or net cost over the life of a patent or trademark. Net income or net cost for the fiscal year is dependent upon the phases of work that have been completed. The net income calculation is based on fees earned during the fiscal year being reported, regardless of when those fees were collected. Maintenance fees play a large part in whether net income or net cost is recognized. Maintenance fees collected in fiscal year 2004 are a reflection of patent issue levels 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years ago, rather than a reflection of patents issued in fiscal year 2004. Therefore, maintenance fees can have a significant impact on matching costs and revenue. In addition, the statement of net cost calculation looks at groups of work that begin and end the fiscal year in various phases of their life cycle.

--see Financial Statements in the Annual Performance and Accountability Reports.

Statement of Use (SOU)

An applicant’s written submission that they're using their trademark in commerce with specified goods or services, submitted after a Notice of Allowance (NOA) has issued. This is a form of allegation of use, which is required in intent-to-use applications. Among other requirements, it must include a specimen showing actual use in commerce of the trademark for each class of goods or services.

statutory disclaimer

Under 35 USC 253 (paragraph 1) and 37 CFR 1.321(a), the owner (in part or in entirety) of a patent may relinquish all rights to a complete claim or claims of the owner's patent using a statutory disclaimer to dedicate the claimed invention to the public. 

-- see MPEP 1490 and 37 CFR 1.321(a)

subsequent designation

A request by the holder of an international trademark registration for an extension of protection of the registration to additional Contracting Parties.

-- see TMEP §1902.08 for more

substantive refusal

Legal reason we can't register a trademark in an application, which in some cases, the applicant can refute or correct. An example of a substantive refusal is likelihood of confusion with a similar trademark that's already registered for related goods or services.

substitute patent application

A “substitute” application is a duplicate of a previously filed application by the same applicant, but which was abandoned before the substitute application was filed. A substitute application does not obtain the benefit of the filing date of the prior application. 

--See MPEP 201.02 

substitute statement

A statement made by an applicant for patent in lieu of an oath or declaration if the inventor is deceased, under a legal incapacity, has refused to execute the oath or declaration, or cannot be found or reached after diligent effort. 

-- see 37 CFR 1.64 and MPEP 604

suggestive trademark

Trademark that suggests some quality of the goods or services, but doesn’t state that quality of the goods or services outright.

supplemental examination

A mechanism whereby the patent owner can request that the USPTO consider, reconsider, or correct information believed to be relevant to the patent.  

--see Supplemental Examination and MPEP 2800

Supplemental Register

The USPTO's secondary trademark register, which doesn't provide as many benefits as the Principal Register. The Supplemental Register is for nondistinctive trademarks that could become distinctive to consumers with time, or if the trademark owner invests in advertising the trademark as a source identifier for their goods or services.

surcharge due

An additional fee that may be required due to late or insufficient payment of fees.

suspension (trademarks)

Temporary pause on examination, allowing an issue impacting your application to be resolved. For example, waiting for a potentially-conflicting trademark in a previously-filed application to either be registered or abandoned, which affects whether your trademark can be registered.

suspension inquiry letter

Office action asking the applicant for the status of the issue impacting their application. For example, if the applicant requested a suspension during a lawsuit related to their trademark, the letter will ask if the lawsuit is still pending, has been suspended, or has been terminated.

Suspension letter

Written notice that we're temporarily pausing our examination of your application to allow an issue that impacts your application to be resolved. For example, waiting for a potentially-conflicting trademark in a previously-filed application to either be registered or abandoned, which affects whether your trademark can be registered.

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T

TC

Technology Center.

-- see Technology Center

TD

Terminal disclaimer.

-- see terminal disclaimer

Technology Center

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

term of art

An expression or phrase that has a defined meaning when used in a particular context or knowledge environment (such as the patenting process, pharmaceuticals, computers, etc.)

terminal disclaimer

Also known as a “TD" - a statement filed by an owner under 35 USC 253 (paragraph 2) and 37 CFR  1.321(b) or (c) to disclaim or dedicate to the public the entire term or any portion of the term of a patent or patent to be granted. A TD may be filed for the purpose of overcoming a non-statutory double patenting rejection. 

-- see MPEP 1490 and 37 CFR 1.321  

TIFF

A lossless, archival image file format - a type using G4 compression is used for patent images.

trade dress

Type of trademark that consists of the 3D configuration of a product or its packaging (such as the design, shape, or color) to signify the source of the product.

trade secret

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

trademark

Any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies the source of goods or services. Businesses and individuals use trademarks with their goods or services so that customers recognize them in the marketplace and distinguish them from competitors.

Trademark Act

Federal statute that governs federal trademark law.

Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS)

System used to file trademark documents with the USPTO, such as trademark applications, petitions to the Director, and registration maintenance documents.

Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)

System used to search the USPTO's trademark database, which includes trademarks that are live (registered or in a pending application), and trademarks that are dead (in a canceled registration or abandoned application).

trademark infringement

Unauthorized use of a trademark. This use can lead to customer confusion, deception, or a misunderstanding about the actual company a product or service came from. Trademark owners can take legal action against unauthorized users if their trademarks are being infringed.

Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP)

Manual published online by the USPTO that documents the law and procedures for registering a trademark and maintaining the registration.

Trademark Official Gazette (TMOG)

Weekly online USPTO publication of trademarks published for opposition before they're registered, trademarks registered on the Supplemental Register, canceled trademark registrations, and renewed trademark registrations.

trademark owner

Person or legal entity who uses the trademark on the goods they produce or in the sale or advertising of the services they provide.

Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC)

Committee of U.S. trademark attorneys from the private sector who advise the USPTO on trademark operations, such as strategic goals, performance, budgets, and fees.

Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) System

System used to view the status of trademark applications and registrations, or view documents related to them, such as office actions, notices, and petitions.

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB)

Neutral body within the USPTO that functions like a court for trademark matters at the USPTO and can decide whether a party has a right to federal registration of their trademark. The Board handles matters like appeals of examining attorney decisions and opposition proceedings.

Transitional phrase

A word or phrase that serves to link or create a relationship between one idea or concept and another.  In patent law it is used to designate the transition from the preamble of a claim to the body of the claim as well as indicate whether the scope of the claim is open or closed to other elements or limitations.   

In the following example, "consisting of" is the transitional phrase between "an item" and "one or more parts": 

EXAMPLE: an item consisting of one or more parts. 

TRB

Technical Review Board - an internal OCIO group that reviews IT project development at critical stages for conformance with USPTO standards and guidance.

TRIPs

Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property

TRM

Technical Reference Model

TSG

Technology Standards and Guidelines

TSS

Technical Support Staff -- USPTO employees who support examination workflow processing.

--see also LIE

TTY

Teletypewriter - also known as a TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf). 

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U

UDRP

Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy

UEA

USPTO Enterprise Architecture

UML

Unified Modeling Language

UPR

Utility, plant, and reissue

-- see patent

US

United States

USC

United States Code

-- see How to Find Laws and Regulations

use in commerce

Bona fide use of a trademark in the trade of goods or services. The trademark must be either: 

  • On the goods, packaging, labels, tags, or displays where the goods are sold or transported in commerce, or  
  • Used to sell or advertise services rendered in commerce  

For federal registration, your goods or services must be offered in more than on U.S. state or territory, or in the U.S. and at least one other country. 

use in commerce basis

Legal basis you can use to file a trademark application if you are using your trademark in commerce with the goods and services in your application. You must include evidence of your use in commerce, called a “specimen,” in your application for this basis. This filing basis is also called Section 1(a).

USPS

United States Postal Service.

USPTO

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

USTR

United States Trade Representative

-- see Office of the United Stated Trade Representative

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

utility patent application

Applications for patents as provided for by 35 U.S.C. 101 relating to a “new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter."  

See MPEP 201 

-- see also application 
-- see also Non-provisional (Utility) Patent Application Filing Guide 

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W

WCT

WIPO Copyright Treaty

window close

Time period after which a utility patent (that issues from an application filed on or after 12 December 1980) expires if a maintenance fee has not been paid. A petition must be filed along with the appropriate fees to reinstate a patent, which has expired due to failure to pay maintenance fees.

-- see MPEP 2590

window open

Time period when a maintenance fee can be paid. 

-- see MPEP 2506

WINS

Windows Internet Naming Service

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. 

-- see International Intergovernmental Organizations 

withdrawn claim

A non-elected claim. "Withdrawn" is the status identifier that should be used for claims that were not elected (chosen by the applicant to remain under consideration) in response to a restriction requirement. 

-- see MPEP 803.01, 803.02 and 803.03 

Further, an appellant (one who is appealing an examiner's rejection to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board) may withdraw some of the appealed claims (i.e., claims subject to a ground of rejection that the appellant did not present for review in the Brief).   

-- see MPEP 1214.05

withdrawn patent

An allowed application for patent in which the applicant files correspondence to withdraw the patent from issue; thus preventing it from issuing on the patent issue date. The printed document is sometimes available on the day of publication, but is later retracted and will not be available in the patent database. No copy of the patent document will appear on the official USPTO website.  

-- see 37 CFR 1.313 and 1.114

workflow

Workflow or the "flow of work." 

Workflow diagrams are a formal way to identify procedural steps and the logic employed in a process used to complete a task or job. Workflow diagrams include each interim step and product(s); the direction of movement through the process (indicated by arrows); decision points, alternative processes and repeated steps, and dependencies (steps or processes that must be completed before, during or after completion of a particular step); and can include the estimated time required for each step, who performs or reviews each step, and resource requirements. Depending on the type of workflow diagramming method used, the start and end points of each interim step may be listed separately or the entire process step can be indicated by a single notation. 

workflow incoming amendment IFW from Public PAIR/IFW

Designates the point in time when an amendment is received in the office and the paper scanning process may be started at the USPTO; does not indicate whether scanning has actually started. 

WPPT

WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty

WTO

World Trade Organization

-- see International Intergovernmental Organizations

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X

X patent

In the 46 years prior to the Great Fire of 1836, the United States government had issued about 10,000 patents. Most of these could never be revived again, but Congress acted to restore those records that could be reconstructed from private files and reproduce models which were deemed critical. Patents whose records were not restored were cancelled. There were a total of 2,845 patents restored, most of which were eventually given a number beginning with "X." All patents after the date of the establishment of the Patent Office in July 1836 were numbered as a new series (without the X), beginning with a new Patent No. 1 to John Ruggles. A small number of the new series patents had been destroyed in the Great Fire but they were quickly recovered from their owners' records. X files bear numbers that range from X000001 to X011280. X0000001 is the first patent, issued to Samuel Hopkins in 1790. 

XML

eXtensible Markup Language - a subset of SGML, or standard generalized markup language; a structured language that facilitates the standardized representation of format and representation and organization of data in an automated environment, such as the use of a browser on a webpage.

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Contact Us

Commissioner for Patents
Local
1-571-272-8800
Fax
1-571-273-8800
Commissioner for Trademarks
Local
571-272-8901
Fax
571-273-0029