Glossary of Terms (Partial List, A-C)

The abstract of a patent application is a short summary (150 words or fewer) that communicates the essence of your invention. Abstracts are useful mainly for searching patent databases. You should write your abstract so that those with a background in the field can easily understand it.

An affidavit is a written statement of facts attested by signature before a Notary Public. (See also, Declaration)

Annuity Services
Outsourced administrative services used by companies to manage and execute the world-wide payment of annuities; these providers maintain records of a company’s patents, provide notifications when fees are due, and assures that payments are made; vendors include Computer Patent Annuities (CPA), Dennemeyer, Computer Packages Inc (CPI)

Anticipation refers to the presence of some prior publication patent application, sale or use that is the same as an invention. If an invention is anticipated, it is not new or  novel and is not patentable.

An appeal is the act of taking an adverse final decision of a patent examiner to a higher authority within the Patent Office, or in the United States, an adverse opinion of The Board of Appeals and Patent Interferences to an appropriate federal court in an attempt to have the decision reversed.

Applicant refers to the inventor(s) who is (are) applying for a patent.

The application comprises the applied use of an innovation that meets the government requirements for a patent.
An application is the set of papers or the electronic file sent to a Patent Office to request that a patent be issued. The form and content of an application are specified by

Art or Prior Art
Art or prior art is any knowledge, usually in written form, including patents, drawings, journal articles and other publications that has preceded an invention.

Article of Manufacture
An article of manufacture is any object which is not a composition of matter, process or machine. Included as articles of manufacture are objects such as tables, toothpicks,  DVDs, toothbrushes, shoes, etc.

The process of exerting a company’s patent rights against another with the goal of either enjoining their use (e.g., “cease and desist”), or as a prelude to securing a license agreement. For example, Lucent Technologies evaluates a competitor’s products to determine whether Lucent’s patents are being misused, and then asserts their rights against the competitor.

Assessment (invention)
The process of determining the sufficiency of a disclosure and the merits for moving forward with the investment of time and money in pursuing a patent.

Asset (intangible)
The generic term for an IP right; an asset may go through various stages of development, e.g., from idea to disclosure to application to prosecution to patent. Also, the basic unit of organization IAM.

An assignment is the legal document that transfers ownership from one party to another. For example, the ownership of an invention of an employee can be assigned to the employee’s company.

Short for “bibliography.” Used only in developer and administrative contexts.

A claim(s) is (are) a part of a patent, generally found at the end of the patent, which defines the limits and boundaries of an invention.

Composition of Matter
A composition of matter is a compound, blend of compounds, formulation, etc.

Conception is the mental act of invention, the formulation of the complete solution of  a problem in one’s mind.

Conflicts (dispute)
The process of receiving notification from an IP rights holder which notifies of a potential misuse; the opposite of an assertion. For example, Microsoft receives a letter from Xerox that its ClearType technology is covered by patents owned by Xerox.