Skip to content

Parent Application:

The term “parent” is applied to an earlier application of an inventor disclosing a given invention. Such invention may or may not be claimed in the first application. Benefit of the filing date of copending parent application may be claimed under 35 U.S.C. 120. The term parent will not be used to describe a provisional application.

Paris Convention:

The Paris Convention, established as a result of the efforts of inventors and industrialists, is an example of an attempt at uniform treatment of trademark owners and international trademark law. The initial objective of the convention was “the creation of a union which, without encroaching on the municipal law of the contracting countries, would lay down a number of general principles securing the interests of industrial property in the interior of a country as well as abroad.” Ladas, Stephen P., Patents, Trademarks, and Related Rights, National and International Protection, Harvard University Press, 1975, p. 63.The two key principles set by the Paris Convention are the right of national treatment (Article 2) and the right of priority (Article 4). The right of national treatment obligates each country to which the Convention applies (“countries of the Union”) to accord to the nationals of all other countries of the Union treatment no less favorable than the treatment it accords to its own nationals. The right of priority permits applicants to claim the benefit of a filing date (called the priority filing date) in one Paris country with regard to applications filed in another country of the Union within the applicable period. This permits the applicant to avoid the effects of actions that may have occurred subsequent to the priority filing date.

Partial Views:

When filing a patent application a drawing with a partial view may be necessary, a view of a large machine or device in its entirety may be broken into partial views on a single sheet, or extended over several sheets if there is no loss in facility of understanding the view. Partial views drawn on separate sheets must always be capable of being linked edge to edge so that no partial view contains parts of another partial view. A smaller scale view should be included showing the whole formed by the partial views and indicating the positions of the parts shown. When a portion of a view is enlarged for magnification purposes, the view and the enlarged view must each be labeled as separate views.


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.

Patent And Trademark Depository Library:

The Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program is comprised of a network of Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries (PTDLs) located in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico which provide access to many of the same products and services offered at the USPTO search facilities in Arlington, VA. Such as 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. The libraries also actively disseminate patent and trademark information and offer internet access to USPTO’s online collections. The scope of PTDL collections, hours of operation, services, and fees (where applicable) vary depending on PTDL location. Users are advised to call ahead to determine products and services available at a particular PTDL. PTDLs also offer automated access to patent and trademark information. All PTDLs offer free access to the Cassis CD-ROM series search tools to assist patrons in the use of patent and trademark collections. Please refer to the USPTO’s Web site for a complete list of PTDLs.

Patent And Trademark Office (USPTO):

The PTO promotes industrial and technological progress in the United States and strengthens the national economy by: Administering the laws relating to patents and trademarks; Advising the Secretary of Commerce, the President of the United States, and the administration on patent, trademark, and copyright protection; Advising the Secretary of Commerce, the President of the United States, and the Administration on the trade-related aspects of intellectual property. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) is the government agency responsible for examining patent applications and issuing patents. A patent is a type of property right. It gives the patent holder the right, for a limited time, to exclude others from making, using, offering to sell, selling, or importing into the United States the subject matter that is within the scope of protection granted by the patent. The USPTO determines whether a patent should be granted in a particular case. However, it is up to the patent holder to enforce his or her own rights if the USPTO does grant a patent.

Patent Application:

A non-provisional utility patent application must include a specification, including a claim or claims; drawings, when necessary; an oath or declaration; and the prescribed filing fee.

Patent Application Publication:

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

Patent Classification:

There are over 400 classes in the U.S. Patent Classification System, each having a title descriptive of its subject matter and each being identified by a class number. Each class is subdivided into a number of subclasses. Each subclass bears a descriptive title and is identified by a subclass number. The subclass number may be an integral number or may contain a decimal portion and/or alpha characters. A complete identification of a subclass requires both the class and subclass number and any alpha or decimal designations; e.g., 418/161.2A identifies Class 418, Subclass 161.2A.

Patent Cooperation:

Provides a mechanism by which an applicant can file a single application that, when certain requirements have been fulfilled, is equivalent to a regular national filing in each designated Contracting State. There are currently over 112 PCT Contracting States.

Patent Disclosure:

The specification shall contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same, and shall set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out his invention.

Patent Drawing:

The applicant shall furnish a drawing where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter to be patented. When the nature of such subject matter admits of illustration by a drawing and the applicant has not furnished such a drawing, the Commissioner may require its submission within a time period of not less than two months from the sending of a notice thereof. Drawings submitted after the filing date of the application may not be used (i) to overcome any insufficiency of the specification due to lack of an enabling disclosure or otherwise inadequate disclosure therein, or (ii) to supplement the original disclosure thereof for the purpose of interpretation of the scope of any claim.

Patent Infringement:

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

Patent Law:

Title 35 of the United States Code (USC).

Patent Number:

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

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.

Patent Prior Art:

All patents subject matter bearing on the novelty and non-obviousness of a claimed invention pursuant to 35 U.S.C. Sections 102 and 103.

Patent Rules:

Section 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).


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


An invention has patentability it is new, useful and non-obvious.

Patentability Search:

The objective of any preliminary patentability search is to discover issued “prior art” United States patents which is similar to the invention being investigated so that a judgment can be made as to the potential for obtaining patent protection. Basically, there are two (2) main types of patents, (i.e., utility patents and design patents). When possible, a patentability search is directed to both utility and design features of an invention so that a determination can be made as to which type of patent protect made be available.


The person to whom a patent issues; in the U.S., the inventor(s) is named, even though the patent may be assigned to another. The patent must issue before the person can be considered a patentee.

Pending Application:

The state an application is in during the time that a patent application is examined or is in the process of an appeal. An application is no longer pending after it is abandoned or a patent has issued.


7 CFR 1.27(a)(1) defines a person 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. An inventor or other individual who has transferred some rights, or is under an obligation to transfer some rights in the invention to one or more parties, can also qualify for small entity status if all the parties who have had rights in the invention transferred to them also qualify for small entity status either as a person, small business concern, or nonprofit organization.

Plant Patent:

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

Power Of Attorney:

A written document signed by a person giving another person the power to act in conducting the signer’s business, including signing papers, checks, title documents, contracts, handling bank accounts and other activities in the name of the person granting the power. The person receiving the power of attorney (the agent) is “attorney in fact” for the person giving the power. There are two types of power of attorney: a) general power of attorney, which covers all activities, and b) special power of attorney, which grants powers limited to specific matters, such as selling a particular piece of real estate, handling some bank accounts or executing a limited partnership agreement. A power of attorney may expire on a date stated in the document or upon written cancellation. Usually the signer acknowledges before a notary public that he/she executed the power, so that it is recordable if necessary, as in a real estate transaction.

Prior Art:

Prior art references include any source from anywhere such as patents, publications and the like. If there is prior that teaches, motivates or suggests an invention the invention is not patentable.

Priority Date:

a) In accordance with the conditions and requirements of subsections (a) through (d) of section 119 of this title, a national application shall be entitled to the right of priority based on a prior filed international application which designated at least one country other than the United States.

Priority Claim:

Claims under 35 USC 119(a)-(e) and 35 USC 120 for the benefit of the filing date of earlier filed applications.

Product By Process Claim:

A product claim that defines the claimed product in terms of the process by which it is made.

Pro Se:

A term used to designate an independent inventor who has elected to file an application by themselves without the services of a licensed representative.


The process of making amendments, statements, arguments, and representations to the USPTO for the purpose of obtaining a patent is usually referred to as patent prosecution.

Prosecution History:

Comprises all documents produced by both the examiner and applicant in course of obtaining a patent.

Prosecution History Estoppel:

This doctrine relates to the amendments, statements, arguments, and representations made by the patent applicant during the course of obtaining a patent. Any statement that limits the scope of the patent made for “a reason related to patentability” is binding and the applicant will be forbidden (estopped) from later attempting to argue that the limitation does not exist.

Provisional Patent Application:

A provisional application for patent is a U. S. national application for patent filed in the USPTO under 35 U.S.C. §111(b). It allows filing without a formal patent claim, oath or declaration, or any information disclosure (prior art) statement. It provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a non-provisional patent application filed under 35 U.S.C. §111(a) and automatically becomes abandoned after one year. It also allows the term “Patent Pending” to be applied.

Provisional Patent Application Term:

Provisional application for patent (provisional application) has a pendency lasting 12 months from the date the provisional application is filed. The 12-month pendency period cannot be extended. Therefore, an applicant who files a provisional application must file a corresponding non-provisional application for patent (non-provisional application) during the 12-month pendency period of the provisional application in order to benefit from the earlier filing of the provisional application.

Public Domain:

Intellectual property that is not owned by anyone and is commonly used by the pubic is said to be in the Public Domain.

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.

Public Knowledge:

The statute (35 U.S.C. § 102(a)), states that “a person shall be entitled to a patent unless: (a) the invention was known or used by others in this country,” means knowledge or use that is accessible to the public.


The distribution or disclosure in a form, which is readily accessible or distributed to the public of copies, audio recordings or any creative work.

Publication Of A Patent:

The “American Inventors Protection Act of 1999” provides for the publication of a U.S. patent application after the expiration of eighteen months from the earliest filing date to which a claim of priority is made. The eighteen-month publication rules apply to U.S. patent applications filed on or after November 29, 2000, and to U.S. applications resulting from international applications filed on or after November 29, 2000.