Skip to content


Central American Free Trade Agreement is a proposed agreement between the United States and five Central American nations (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua).

Canceled Claim:

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

CIP (Continuation-in-Part):

An application filed during the lifetime of an earlier nonprovisional application, repeating some substantial portion or all of the earlier nonprovisional application and adding matter not disclosed in the earlier nonprovisional application.

Certificate of Mailing:

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


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

Claim, Closed:

The preamble of a claim using a phrase such as “consisting of” and of this form of claim is considered to positively and clearly include all the elements or steps recited therein as a part of the claimed combination.

Claim, Dependent:

A claim that refers back to and further limits or restricts the breadth of another claim. The other claim may be an independent claim or another dependent claim.

Claim, Generic:

A claim that describes (“reads on”) a generic form of an invention. A generic claim generally reads on all the claimed species of an invention.

Claim, Independent:

A claim that does not reference (depend from) another claim.

Claim, Jepson:

A form of a claim with a preamble that describes what is known in the art followed by a transitional phrase such as “the improvement comprising” and then a description of the claimed improvement.

Claim, Markush:

A form of a claim that allows claiming of members of a finite group by a claim that recites members as being “selected from the group consisting of A, B and C.” The members of a Markush group must have at least one property that is akin to the group.

Claim, Multiple Dependent:

A claim that refers back to and further limits another claim or claims and depends from more than one other claim. The other claims may be referred to in the alternative only.

Claim, Process:

A claim that recites the steps of a process. The process may be a method of making something, a process of operating something or a process of using something. 35 U.S.C. 101.

Claim, Product:

Claim that recites the elements or features of a product (i.e., a machine, an article of manufacture or a composition of matter). A claim recites the physical form of an invention. 35 U.S.C. 101.

Claim, Species:

A claim that describes (“reads on”) a species of an invention. A generic claim generally reads on all the claimed species of an invention.

Claim, Picture:

A claim that describes every aspect of an invention.


Patents are classified (organized) in the U.S. by a system using a 3 digit class and a subclass to describe every similar grouping of patent art. A single invention may be described by multiple classification codes.


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


A process of creating an invention and then getting in position to manufacture, market and distribute or sell.

Common Law Rights:

Property or other legal rights that do not absolutely require formal registration in order to enforce them.

Community Patent Convention (CPC):

The CPC was to further the EPC by providing a single patent that covered the entire territory of the European Community.

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.


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. Comprising is a term of art used in claim language which means that the named elements are essential.


“The complete performance of the mental part of the inventive act” and it is “the formation in the mind of the inventor of a definite and permanent idea of the complete and operative invention as it is thereafter to be applied in practice.” Townsend v. Smith, 36 F.2d 292, 295, 4 USPQ 269, 271 (CCPA 1930). “[C]onception is established when the invention is made sufficiently clear to enable one skilled in the art to reduce it to practice without the exercise of extensive experimentation or the exercise of inventive skill.” Hiatt v. Ziegler, 179 USPQ 757, 763 (Bd. Pat. Inter. 1973). Conception has also been defined as a disclosure of an invention which enables one skilled in the art to reduce the invention to a practical form without “exercise of the inventive faculty.” Gunter v. Stream, 573 F.2d 77, 197 USPQ 482 (CCPA 1978).

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 U.S.C. 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.”

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.


A second application for the same invention claimed in a prior nonprovisional application and filed before the first application becomes abandoned or patented.

Contributory Infringement:

Making or facilitating the production of any portion of a patented product or a material or a patented.

Convention (PCT):

Convention, PCT Similar to the EPC, The PCT convention operates as a “holding pattern” to preserve rights in designated countries for a specified time. Comprised of different countries than the EPC except in such instances where a country belongs to both conventions.

Cross Reference:

A reference (issued patent) in another class or subclass, or a reference made in a later-filed patent application to a related, earlier-filed application.

Customer Number:

Number assigned by the Office that is used to simplify the submission of an address change, to appoint a practitioner, or to designate the fee address for a patent. Customer numbers are primarily used by attorneys and law firms, and must be requested using the “Request for Customer Number” form (PTO/SB/125).


Legal matter related to intellectual property on the Internet and its regulation and governing.