Patent Terms Glossary

While working with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it’s necessary to file certain documents as well as respond to communications from the USPTO. These documents and communications create a written dialogue that I’d like you to understand better. IPhuddle’s glossary helps explain some of the most commonly used terms found in the articles and the documents and communications exchanged with the USPTO. If you would like something explained that is not listed here, then please use the suggestion form.

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  • Abandoned ApplicationAn abandoned application is an application that is no longer pending. A common reason for abandonment is when the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) does not receive a response to an office action within 6 months from the date the office action was mailed. Read More
  • AbandonmentAbandonment occurs when an applicant either explicitly (in writing) or implicitly (due to inaction) relinquish their patent right. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) holds a patentabandoned” when it is no longer pending. An example of abandonment by inaction is when the(...) Read More
  • AbstractThe abstract is a required part of a patent application. The abstract is a summary of the specification limited to 150 words. Read More
  • Acknowledgment ReceiptWhen you electronically file a provisional or nonprovisional application, an acknowledgment receipt is displayed, which provides the time and the date the submission of the application was received as well as the bibliographic information and uploaded files of the documents filed. Read More
  • Adam HippAdam Hipp is a registered patent attorney who helps startups and established companies protect their intellectual property to reach their business goals. Read more... Read More
  • Advisory ActionAn Advisory Action (AA) is a communication received from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) after filing an amendment in response to a final Office Action. If the amendment raises new issues or will require a further search for prior art by the patent examiner, the examiner(...) Read More
  • AllowanceAllowance is the term used by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to indicate that a patent application is in a condition to become a granted patent. When your application is in a condition to become a granted patent, the USPTO will mail a Notice of Allowance notifying you(...) Read More
  • AmendmentAn amendment is any revision made to the specification, claims, or drawings of a patent application. An amendment cannot add information that was not part of the original scope of the patent application, but portions of the patent application may be deleted or rewritten. Obvious errors in the(...) Read More
  • Amendment After FinalAn amendment after final is an amendment in response to a final Office Action. An amendment after final may make changes to: the detailed description in the Specification the Drawings the Claims The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will consider the amendment and(...) Read More
  • AnticipationA reference (e.g., prior art) that discloses all of the elements of a claim is considered to anticipate the claim. Read More
  • ApplicantAn applicant may be any person or legal entity (e.g., a corporation), to whom the inventor has assigned or to whom the inventor is under an obligation to assign. If there is no assignee or if the assignee has opted not to file the patent application and not to take over prosecution to the(...) Read More
  • Application Data Sheet (ADS)An application data sheet (ADS) is a document filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office that includes the names, addresses, and nationalities of the inventors, along with the name and address of the assignee if there is one. It also contains some basic information about the rest(...) Read More
  • Application NumberWhen a utility patent application is filed, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) assigns an application number. This is sometimes referred to as a Serial Number. An application number has the format of XX/XXX,XXX. Read More
  • Art UnitAn art unit is a working unit at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) responsible for examining inventions that fall within a specific group of technology categories. Art units are identified by a four-digit number, e.g., 3685. When you file a patent application, the USPTO(...) Read More
  • AssigneeAn assignee is a person or legal entity to which an assignment is made. Read More
  • AssignmentAn assignment is a document transferring ownership of a patent application or patent. Read More
  • AssignorAn assignor is a person or legal entity who makes an assignment. Read More
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  • Background of the InventionThe background section of a patent application serves to describe the general field of technology in which the invention appears and the kinds of problems the invention aims to solve. After reading the background, the reader should have a sense that there is a need in the art for the(...) Read More
  • Brief Description of the DrawingsThe Brief Description of the Drawings section of a patent application provides a series of separate paragraphs giving the figure number (e.g., FIG. 1) and a brief description of what the drawing illustrates. Read More
  • Brief Summary of the InventionThe Brief Summary of the Invention section ("Summary") of a patent application presents the solution to the problem described in the Background. Begin the Summary with a sentence or two describing the essential details to the solution. Follow this with important details of the solution,(...) Read More
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  • Child ApplicationA child patent application is filed while a parent application is still pending (i.e., not issued or abandoned). A child application benefits from the priority date of the parent application. Read More
  • CIPA continuation-in-part (CIP) application is a new patent application that follows an earlier-filed (i.e., parent) patent application. The CIP includes subject matter not covered in the parent patent application, must be filed while the parent patent application is pending, and is required to(...) Read More
  • ClaimA claim is a single sentence. It starts with a capital letter and ends with a period. To allow for easier reading, claims are arranged in one or more paragraphs, which define what a patent owner has exclusive rights to. Read More
  • Claim SetA group of claims that includes one independent claim and all of its dependent claims. Read More
  • Claimed InventionThe term “claimed invention” refers to the subject matter recited by a claim in a patent or a patent application. Read More
  • Co-pending Patent ApplicationPatent applications that are pending at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at the same time are considered co-pending. A continuation or continuation-in-part patent application are required to be co-pending with their parent application. Read More
  • CONA continuation patent application ("continuation" or "CON") is a new patent application that follows an earlier-filed patent application. The continuation application uses the same specification as the earlier-filed patent application but usually includes different claims, is entitled to the(...) Read More
  • Continuation-in-Part ApplicationA continuation-in-part (CIP) application is a new patent application that follows an earlier-filed (i.e., parent) patent application. The CIP includes subject matter not covered in the parent patent application, must be filed while the parent patent application is pending, and is required to(...) Read More
  • Continuation ApplicationA continuation patent application ("continuation" or "CON") is a new patent application that follows an earlier-filed patent application. The continuation application uses the same specification as the earlier-filed patent application but usually includes different claims, is entitled to the(...) Read More
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  • Inventor's Oath or DeclarationThe Declaration is a legal document signed by each inventor and filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). By signing the Declaration, an inventor represents: They contributed to at least one of the claims, They acknowledge they read and understand the patent(...) Read More
  • Dependent ClaimA claim that refers to another independent or dependent claim and incorporates everything in the referenced claim plus the additional limitations of the dependent claim. Read More
  • Detailed Description of the InventionThe Detailed Description of the Invention section ("Detailed Description") of a patent application describes the various embodiments of the invention in great detail. Each of the figures should be explained, and, every reference number in the drawing of a figure should be called out and named(...) Read More
  • DIVA divisional patent application ("divisional application" or "divisional") is a patent application used to protect several inventions claimed in an originally filed patent application. A divisional application is entitled to the filing date of the originally filed patent application and must(...) Read More
  • Divisional Patent ApplicationA divisional patent application ("divisional application" or "divisional") is a patent application used to protect several inventions claimed in an originally filed patent application. A divisional application is entitled to the filing date of the originally filed patent application and must(...) Read More
  • Double PatentingDouble patenting generally prevents an applicant from receiving two patents and extending the term of exclusivity for a single invention. Under United States patent law, a person can have only one patent for one invention. However, it is possible to obtain a second patent for an improvement(...) Read More
  • Double Patenting RejectionA rejection of a patent claim on the grounds that it is an improper attempt to obtain more than one patent on the same invention or on an obvious variant of the same invention. Read More
  • DrawingPatent drawings must show every feature of the invention as recited in the claims. The omission of drawings may cause a patent application to be considered incomplete but are only required if drawings are necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented. A typical(...) Read More
  • Duty of DisclosureAny inventor, agent, attorney, secretary, engineer, or anyone else that may have helped with the preparation of a patent application is required by law to submit any information to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that may affect the patentability of the claimed invention(...) Read More
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  • EmbodimentAn example of a method, apparatus, or composition of matter that implements an inventive concept. Read More
  • Enablement RequirementThe enablement requirement is one of the patentability requirements and is satisfied when the invention is described in enough detail that someone skilled in the relevant technical field can understand how to make and use it. Read More
  • Examiner's Amendment An Examiner's amendment is an amendment made by a patent examiner to the applicant's patent application. This occurs most typically when the applicant and the patent examiner discuss and resolve a problem raised by the patent examiner in an Office Action, and in some instances before an(...) Read More
  • Examiner’s Statement of Reasons for AllowanceSometimes, a Notice of Allowance will include an Examiner's Statement of Reasons for Allowance if the Examiner believes that the record of the prosecution as a whole does not make clear his or her reasons for allowing a claim or claims. The applicant, patent owner, or attorney should review(...) Read More
  • Extension of TimeWhen the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) sends a communication, the USPTO usually mandates a time in which to respond without paying a late fee. If a response is not received within the period, a late fee must be paid and an extension of time requested. Read More
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  • FAOMAn office action is a communication from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requesting an action be taken concerning the patent application. Typically, the office action cites prior art and gives reasons why the examiner allowed or approved the claims, and/or rejected the(...) Read More
  • Field of the InventionThe Field of the Invention section of a patent application provides a general description of the technical field related to the invention. The field of the invention is usually two sentences. The first sentence provides a broad sense of the category into which the invention fits. The second(...) Read More
  • File WrapperThe file wrapper is the record of documentation kept by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on a patent application or granted patent. The file wrapper includes all the communications and documentation of a patent application, providing a complete history of the patent's(...) Read More
  • Filing DateThe filing date is the date when a patent application is first filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Read More
  • Filing FeeThe United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires a fee to process a utility application (e.g., nonprovisional or provisional) which is required at the time of filing. Read More
  • Filing ReceiptA filing receipt is an official acknowledgment that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has received the patent application. Some of the information the filing receipt identifies includes the: Application number Filing date Inventor name(s) Title of the(...) Read More
  • First Office ActionAn office action is a communication from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requesting an action be taken concerning the patent application. Typically, the office action cites prior art and gives reasons why the examiner allowed or approved the claims, and/or rejected the(...) Read More
  • First to FileUnder a first to file system, the right to a patent for an invention is determined by the first person to file for a patent to protect that invention. The United States (and the rest of the world) examines patents under a first to file system.       Read More
  • Foreign Filing LicenseAn authorization granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to file for a patent in a country outside of the United States based on a patent application pending before the USPTO. The main factors used to determine whether obtaining the license is required are: (1)(...) Read More
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  • GrantOnce a patent application has been examined and found to meet the patentability requirements, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants a patent by issuing a certificate of that grant. The act of issuing the certificate is what creates the grant of patent rights, which(...) Read More
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  • IdeaAn idea is generally theoretical in nature and needs to be proved either with a solution or a prototype to mature into an invention.

    Ideas are not patentable, inventions are.

    Read More
  • IDFAn invention disclosure form is a document prepared by an inventor to help organize the inventor's thoughts about the invention as well as explain the invention to someone who is not familiar with it. Often, the invention disclosure form is used to prepare a patent attorney for an invention(...) Read More
  • IDSAn information disclosure statement (IDS) is a document filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that lists information believed to be material to the patentability of an invention. The information can include U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, foreign(...) Read More
  • Independent ClaimA claim that does not refer to, and thus does not incorporate the limitations of, any other claim. Read More
  • Information Disclosure Statement (IDS)An information disclosure statement (IDS) is a document filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that lists information believed to be material to the patentability of an invention. The information can include U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, foreign(...) Read More
  • Intellectual PropertyPatents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and other intangible assets are considered to be intellectual property. Read More
  • InventionAny new article, machine, composition, or process, or new use developed by a human. An invention is the extension of an idea that is developed. This means that you need to be able to explain how to make and use your invention so that others could recreate your invention after reading your(...) Read More
  • Invention DisclosureAn invention disclosure ("patent disclosure" or "disclosure") is the sharing of information or material about an invention. Read More
  • Invention Disclosure FormAn invention disclosure form is a document prepared by an inventor to help organize the inventor's thoughts about the invention as well as explain the invention to someone who is not familiar with it. Often, the invention disclosure form is used to prepare a patent attorney for an invention(...) Read More
  • Invention Disclosure MeetingAn invention disclosure meeting "disclosure meeting" is a meeting between an inventor and a patent attorney. The disclosure meeting is an opportunity for the inventor to explain the operation of the invention to the patent attorney as well as provide time for the patent attorney to gather(...) Read More
  • InventorAn inventor is a person or persons who contribute to the claims of a patent application. Read More
  • Issue DateThe issue date is the date your nonprovisional patent application is issued a grant, after which your nonprovisional patent application is known as a patent.
    It's important to note that once your application issues as(...) Read More
  • Issue FeeOnce the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) allows a patent application, an issue fee for issuing a patent is due within three months from the date of a notice of allowance. When the issue fee is paid, the patent issues about four weeks after the date of payment. Read More
  • Issue NotificationAn Issue Notification is a document received from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) once the fees (e.g., publication and issue fee) are paid. The Notification includes the patent number and the anticipated issue date (i.e., the date your patent application is issued a(...) Read More
  • IssueOn successful patent prosecution, a patent application is issued a grant, after which the patent application is known as a patent. Read More
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  • Large Entity StatusAt the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a Large Entity is one of the available applicant's status, along with the "Small Entity" status and the "Micro Entity" status. The USPTO fees are determined based on your status as a large, small, or micro entity. If you do not qualify(...) Read More
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  • Maintenance FeeA fee to be paid to maintain a patent or a patent application in force. In the United States, a fee is due before the 4th year, the 8th year, and the 12th year, after the patent was granted. Failure to pay a maintenance fee will result in the patent expiring and the patent owner losing their(...) Read More
  • Manual of Patent Examining ProcedureThe Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) is the manual that an examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) uses for reviewing patent applications. Every patent attorney or patent agent also have passed a test based on the information from the MPEP. Read More
  • MPEPThe Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) is the manual that an examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) uses for reviewing patent applications. Every patent attorney or patent agent also have passed a test based on the information from the MPEP. Read More
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  • New MatterNew matter is subject matter (e.g., description, drawings, etc.) added to a patent application after the application was filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). By law, no new matter can be added to an application after filing. However, if an inventor feels it is(...) Read More
  • Non-obviousnessA patentable invention is required to be non-obviousness. This means that there are no references in combination or individually that teach all of the elements of the claimed invention. Non-obviousness also means that one of ordinary skill in the art would not feel that the claimed invention(...) Read More
  • Non-patent literatureNon-patent literature is prior art documents, such as journal articles, excerpts from books, or other publications. Read More
  • Patent Application (Full Patent)A patent application ("nonprovisional application" or "application") is a set of papers that describe an invention that is filed at the USPTO to apply for a patent on the invention. The papers include a specification; at least one claim; drawings, when necessary; an executed oath or(...) Read More
  • Nonprovisional Patent ApplicationA United States patent application that is not a provisional application. A complete nonprovisional application differs from a provisional in that a nonprovisional must contain at least one claim and is to be examined. A nonprovisional application may also claim priority to a prior-filed(...) Read More
  • Notice of AllowanceA Notice of Allowance is a document received from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) notifying you that the USPTO has approved your patent application. The Notice of Allowance lists the remaining fees (e.g., publication and issue fee) to complete the patent process. You are(...) Read More
  • NPLNon-patent literature is prior art documents, such as journal articles, excerpts from books, or other publications. Read More
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  • Office ActionAn office action is a communication from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requesting an action be taken concerning the patent application. Typically, the office action cites prior art and gives reasons why the examiner allowed or approved the claims, and/or rejected the claims. Read More
  • One of Ordinary SkillOne of ordinary skill in the art is someone who has ordinary skill in the technology that deals with the claimed invention. The Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) discloses several characteristics which are used to determine who would be someone of ordinary skill in the art since it(...) Read More
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  • Parent ApplicationA parent application is typically the first nonprovisional patent application filed for an invention. It is possible that a parent application describes multiple inventions which are covered by continuation application or divisional applications. Read More
  • PatentA grant from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that confers upon the owner (i.e., the inventor or the person or business to whom the inventor legally transfers the patent) the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, importing, or offering an invention for sale(...) Read More
  • Patent AttorneyA patent attorney is admitted to the practice of law in at least one state and has passed a USPTO registration examination ("patent bar") which tests a candidate's knowledge of patent law and of USPTO policies and procedures. A patent attorney is required to have a technical degree or(...) Read More
  • Patent Cooperation TreatyThe Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is a treaty that simplifies foreign patent filings in countries that are members of the World Trade Organization. A PCT filing allows an inventor to initially file a single patent application with a receiving office (usually the United States Patent and(...) Read More
  • Patent ExaminationPatent examination is where you negotiate with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to determine the scope of patent protection and rights for an invention. During this stage, the examiner will evaluate the application to make sure it conforms to formalities that are required(...) Read More
  • Patent ExaminerA patent examiner works at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A patent examiner reviews patent applications filed at the USPTO to determine whether the invention(s) claimed in each of them should be granted a patent or whether the patent application should instead be refused. Read More
  • Patent FamilyA group of patents related by a common priority claim. Read More
  • Patent NumberA patent number is a unique number assigned by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) when a patent application issues as a patent. Read More
  • Patent OwnerAn inventor (or group of inventors) are initially the owners of a patent or patent application. All inventors have equal rights to the claimed invention regardless of their individual contribution to the claims, just as long as each inventor made some contribution. Each inventor can appoint an(...) Read More
  • Patent PendingPatent pending is the term used to describe a patent application (e.g., a provisional or nonprovisional patent application) that has been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) but has not issued as a patent. Patent pending is a warning that indicates that the(...) Read More
  • Patent PortfolioA collection of patents owned by a single entity, such as an individual or corporation. Read More
  • Patent ProcessThe patent process includes several stages for obtaining and maintaining a patent. Generally, the stages include (1) determining whether your invention is patentable, (2) preparing your patent application, (3) filing your patent application, (4) prosecuting your patent application, (5)(...) Read More
  • Patent Profanity Words that have legal meaning that can limit the scope or enforceability of a patent and should usually be avoided in any patent application. Some example words to be mindful of include: AlwaysBestExactlyMustNecessaryImportantNeedsInvention Read More
  • Patent ProsecutionPatent prosecution is the process of negotiating the scope of the claims of a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to obtain patent protection and rights for an invention. Read More
  • Patent RightsPatent rights include the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, importing, or offering an invention for sale for a limited period. Read More
  • Patent SearchA patent search, or patentability search, is a search of existing patents, published patent applications, and other publicly available documents for inventions that might be considered important “prior art” references when applying for a patent. The objective of the patent search is to make a(...) Read More
  • Patent TermThe maximum period during which it can be maintained in force. In the United States, the patent term is 20 years from the filing date of the patent. Read More
  • Patent Term AdjustmentPatent term adjustment (PTA) is a process carried out by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that adds time to the patent term based on delays that occur from the USPTO during the patenting process. Read More
  • Patent TitleThe title of a patent application provides a short, precise, and specific description of the invention. Read More
  • Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) a tribunal within the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The PTAB hears appeals from adverse patentability decisions by patent examiners in original applications, reissues, and reexaminations. The board also oversees trial proceedings(...) Read More
  • PatentabilityAn invention has patentability if it is (1) patent eligible, (2) useful, (3) new, (4) nonobvious, and (5) described with enough detail that someone skilled in the relevant technical field can understand how to make and use it. Read More
  • Patentability RequirementsFor an invention to be eligible for a patent, or have patentability, the invention as recited by the claims must be (1) patent eligible, (2) useful, (3) new, (4) nonobvious, and (5) described with enough detail that someone skilled in the relevant technical field can understand how to make and(...) Read More
  • PatentableSuitable to be patented or entitled by law to be protected by the issuance of a patent. Read More
  • PatenteeOne to whom a patent was granted; in the United States, the inventor(s) named, even though the patent may be assigned to another. The patent must issue before an inventor can be considered a patentee. Read More
  • PCTThe Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is a treaty that simplifies foreign patent filings in countries that are members of the World Trade Organization. A PCT filing allows an inventor to initially file a single patent application with a receiving office (usually the United States Patent and(...) Read More
  • PCT Patent ApplicationThe Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is a legal agreement entered into between various countries for filing patent applications. The purpose of the PCT is to streamline the initial filing process by allowing an applicant to file a patent application (i.e., a "PCT Patent Application") in a large(...) Read More
  • Pending ApplicationPending application is the status of a patent application during the time that the patent application is examined or is in the process of an appeal. A patent application is no longer pending after it is abandoned or a patent has issued. Read More
  • Placeholder Continuation A placeholder continuation application is a strategic approach in patent prosecution where a continuation application is filed without any amendments or new claims. This application is filed before the grant of the "parent" patent to keep the pendency of the patent family alive. The key(...) Read More
  • POAA power of attorney (POA) authorizes a patent attorney to represent a client before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by allowing your attorney to act on your behalf in filing and prosecuting the patent application. Read More
  • Power of AttorneyA power of attorney (POA) authorizes a patent attorney to represent a client before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by allowing your attorney to act on your behalf in filing and prosecuting the patent application. Read More
  • PractitionerA Practitioner is a person who has been licensed and given a registration number by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to represent clients in matters related to patent prosecution before the USPTO. A practitioner may be a patent agent (a practitioner who is not a member(...) Read More
  • Preliminary AmendmentA preliminary amendment is an amendment sent to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) before the USPTO mails an office action. The purpose of the preliminary amendment is to revise the specification, abstract, drawings, and/or claims of a patent application. Read More
  • Prior ArtPrior art is the public body of knowledge relating to your invention that exists before your invention or more than a year before the date you applied for the patent. Below are some examples of prior art: A product that was available for sale Commercial use of your invention (...) Read More
  • Prioritized Examination (Track One)Track One Prioritized examination is a procedure for expedited review of a patent application for an additional fee. The goal for prioritized examination is to provide a final disposition —an allowance/answer or rejection—for a patent application within 12 months of prioritized status being granted. Read More
  • Priority DateThe priority date, sometimes called the "effective filing date," is the date used to establish the novelty and/or obviousness of a particular invention relative to the public body of knowledge relating to your invention. Read More
  • Private PAIRPrivate PAIR (Patent Application Retrieval Portal) is a portal provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that provides secure real-time access to unpublished applications. To access Private PAIR, you must be registered with the USPTO. Read More
  • Provisional Patent ApplicationA provisional patent application (or "provisional application" or "provisional") is a legal document filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that establishes a filing date. A provisional application is only useful to get the protection of its earlier filing date if a(...) Read More
  • Provisional Patent Application TermA provisional application has a pendency lasting 12 months from the date the provisional application is filed. The 12-month pendency period cannot be extended. An applicant who files a provisional application must file a corresponding nonprovisional patent during the 12-month pendency period(...) Read More
  • PTAPatent term adjustment (PTA) is a process carried out by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that adds time to the patent term based on delays that occur from the USPTO during the patenting process. Read More
  • PTABThe Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) a tribunal within the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The PTAB hears appeals from adverse patentability decisions by patent examiners in original applications, reissues, and reexaminations. The board also oversees trial proceedings(...) Read More
  • Public DisclosurePublic disclosure is any non-confidential communication of an idea or invention that enables an appropriately experienced individual ("person having ordinary skill in the art") to reproduce your invention. Public disclosure can lead to the loss of patent rights. For example, in the U.S.,(...) Read More
  • Public PAIRPublic PAIR (Patent Application Retrieval Portal) is a portal provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to check the status of U.S. patent applications and gain access to the correspondence documents between the applicant and the patent examiner for issued or published(...) Read More
  • Publication NumberA number assigned to the publication of a patent application. A patent application will publish 18 months from the earliest filing date to which a claim of priority is made unless a request not to publish is received at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A patent(...) Read More
  • PublicationsPublications are prior art references or documents used for the purpose of determining whether a claimed invention is patentable. Read More
  • Published Patent ApplicationEighteen (18) months after the filing date of a patent application the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will publish the application. Publication does not give the inventor any rights but informs the public of what the inventor has filed. At this point, the patent application(...) Read More
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  • Reduction to PracticeAn invention is required to be reduced to practice before a patent can be applied for. There are two (2) kinds of reduction to practice: Actual and constructive. Actual reduction requires making a working model of the invention that demonstrates that the invention will work to fulfill its(...) Read More
  • Request for Continued Examination (RCE) Requests for Continued Examination (RCEs) keep a patent pending. An RCE is a request to continue to pursue a patent application for which the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has closed prosecution (e.g., the application is under final rejection or a notice of allowance).(...) Read More
  • ResponseAn Office Action is a formal communication from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that outlines whether the patent application includes allowable subject matter and/or issues with the patent application. A Response to each of the issues raised in the Office Action must(...) Read More
  • Retainer FeeA retainer fee is an advance payment on future services. The retainer fee will typically be applied toward rendered services. Using a patent application filing as an example, any deficit because of costs incurred in filing the patent application is billed after the patent application is filed(...) Read More
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  • Small Entity StatusAt the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a small entity is one of the available applicant’s status, along with the “large entity” status and the “micro entity” status. The small entity status allows small businesses, independent inventors, and nonprofit organizations to(...) Read More
  • SpecificationThe specification ("written description" or "disclosure") is typically the part of the patent application that is not a drawing or claim. It's typically the longest part of the patent application. Sections of the specification can include a title, a background section, a summary, a list of(...) Read More
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  • Terminal DisclaimerA terminal disclaimer is a statement filed by an applicant during prosecution to disclaim the additional term of enforceability beyond the term of an earlier filed patent application for a later filed patent application so that the later filed patent application expires on the same date as the(...) Read More
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  • United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce that examines and issues U.S. patents and examines and registers U.S. trademarks. Read More
  • Updated Filing Receipt A filing receipt is an official acknowledgment that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has received the patent application. The filing receipt includes identifying information such as the application serial number, the filing date, the inventor’s name, the title of the(...) Read More
  • USPTOThe United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce that examines and issues U.S. patents and examines and registers U.S. trademarks. Read More
  • Utility Patent ApplicationThere are two types of utility patent applications, a nonprovisional patent application and a provisional patent application. Read More