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Effective Date:

The date the patent is available as a reference is generally the date that the patent becomes enforceable.

Election (PCT):

An indication made by applicant, in the Demand for an International Application filed under the patent cooperation treaty, as to the Contracting States in which applicant intends to use the results of the international preliminary examination.


A discretely claimed component of a patent claim.


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


The specification in a patent application must describe the invention in a manner that would enable one with ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention without an undue amount of experimentation.

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.


The study of a patent application in the governing patent and trademark office, by an examiner, to determine whether or the invention described therein can be patented. The major consideration the examiner addresses is the novelty and utility of the invention, among other things.


Employees of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office who conduct prior art searches and determine whether the patent application complies with the substantive and procedure requirements for the grant of the patent.

Examiner’s Amendment:

An informal examiner’s amendment may be used for the correction of obvious errors and omissions only in the body of the written portions of the specification and may only be made with pen by the examiner of the application who will then initial in the margin and assume full responsibility for the change.

Exclusive License:

An agreement granted by a patent owner to one party, exclusive right of usage. The licensee is said to “own” the rights granted in the license as long as the licensee holds up to the agreement as stated within the licensing contract.


The signing of an oath or declaration, and swearing to that oath as required by law.

Ex Partes 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. If the request for ex parte reexamination is filed by a third party and not the patent owner, the third party may not participate in the ex parte proceedings beyond the filing of a reply to the patent owner’s statement under §1.530, if the patent owner files a statement. No other reply or submission by a third party will be considered in ex parte reexamination.


The date when the invention is no longer protected and or when an invention’s patent protection lapses. This may correspond with the end of the “term” of the patent.

Express Abandonment:

A patent application may be expressly abandoned by filing a written declaration of abandonment identifying the application 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. Abandonment may be either of the invention or of an application. An abandoned application, in accordance with 37 CFR 1.135 and 1.138, is one which is removed from the USPTO docket of pending applications.

Express Mail Mailing Label:

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