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The Everyday Dictionary of Law

The Everyday Dictionary of Law provides legal vocabulary currently in use in common law jurisdictions such as most notably, in the United States. The dictionary is compiled specifically for commercial and intellectual property law practitioners, which provides simple definitions and meanings in American English, for legal terms (including Latin terms) used in formal correspondence, court proceedings, and motion practice as well as common language words that are frequently used in the same. It is a simple reference guide for attorneys, paralegals as well as casual readers who need to check the meaning of a particular legal term in due course of their work.


The information provided by Carthaginian Ventures Private Limited d/b/a Copperpod IP (“we,” “us” or “our”) on this site is for general informational purposes only. All information on the website is provided in good faith, however, we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of any information on the site. Under no circumstance shall we have any liability to you for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of the site or reliance on any information provided on the site. Your use and  and reliance on any information on the site constitutes your understanding, acceptance and agreement of these terms and conditions.


Amendment to allege use.

ABA Number

American Bankers Association Number - often referred to as the "transit routing number", is the nine (9) digit electronic address of a financial institution. The ABA number is encoded in the MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) line of all checks and is assigned to each financial institution and each branch office of that financial institution.


Activity-Based Cost Accounting - and accrual-based accounting method for determining unit-based costs of delivering services by allocating the costs to budgetary resources; it measures the performance and costs related to a specific activity or function.


Activity-Based Management - a management methodology that combines ABC with business process analysis techniques to run, improve and measure performance for a business or organization.


Automated Biotechnology Sequence Search.


Automated Clearing House - a nationwide batch-oriented electronic funds transfer system governed by the NACHA (National Automated Clearing House Association).


Application Data Sheet.


America Invents Act. This act, which came fully into effect in 2013, shifted the rights to a patent in the United States from a first-to-invent (FTI) to a first-inventor-to-file (FITF) system for patent applications filed on or after 16th March 2013, bringing it more in line with other jurisdictions. As notes from the Congressional Record from the debate on America Invents Act explain: "This bill would finalize the shift towards a European-style patent system through changing from a 'first-to-invent' to 'first-to-file' system; establishing a new set of 'prior use' rights, and ; adopting a third European-style 'post-grant' challenge."


American Inventors Protection Act of 1999.


American Intellectual Property Law Association.


Automated Information System.


Agency Location Code - an eight (8) digit code assigned to U.S. government agencies by the Department of Treasury.


Automated Project Management System.


Association of southeast Asian Nations.


Authority to Operate.


A patent may be abandoned if fees are not paid, or during the application process for failure to reply to a request or notice from the patent office, within a set period time, or if the issue fee has not been paid.


The failure of a person to surrender to the custody of a court to avoid legal proceedings.


The nonappearance of a party to litigation or a person summoned to attend as a witness.


A concise statement of the technical disclosure including the one which is new in the art to which the invention pertains.

Abuse of Process

A tort where damage is caused by using a legal process for an ulterior collateral purpose. Actions that are frivolous, vexatious, or in bad faith can be stayed or dismissed by the court as an abuse of process.

Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual

This manual lists numerous examples of identifications of goods and services that are acceptable to the USPTO for inclusion in trademark applications and registrations. The manual is not exhaustive and is meant as a guide to aid applicants and their attorneys in formulating acceptable identifications of goods and/or services.


Adaptation is the act of altering a pre-existing work (either protected or in the public domain) or a traditional cultural expression, for the purpose other than that for which it originally served, in a way that a new work comes into being in which the elements of the pre-existing work and the new elements are added and as a result of the alteration, they merge. For example, Article 12 of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1971) provides that authors of literary and artistic works shall enjoy the exclusive right of authorizing adaptations, arrangements, and other alterations of their works.

Administrative Instructions

Set out the provisions and requirements concerning the filing and processing of the international (patent) application under the PCT and are established by the Director- General of WIPO.


/ˌæfəˈdeɪvɪt/ /ˌæfəˈdeɪvɪt/

Latin for "he has sworn". A formal statement of fact.

Allegation Of Use

A sworn statement signed by a trademark applicant (or a person authorized to sign on behalf of the applicant) attesting to the use of the mark in commerce. The allegation of use must include one "specimen" showing the use of the mark in commerce for each class of the goods/services included in the application, and the required fee.


third-party beneficiary

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) offers an alternative to formal court-based systems for tackling intellectual property disputes that may arise concerning traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions, and genetic resources. It seeks to resolve disputes in non adversarial ways to reach outcomes of mutual benefit for all parties. With ADR, the parties themselves assume responsibility for solving the conflict and can take into account issues other than legal norms.

Amendment to Allege Use (AAU)

A sworn statement signed by the applicant or a person authorized to sign on behalf of the applicant attesting to the use of the mark in commerce. With the AAU, the owner must submit one specimen showing the use of the mark in commerce for each class of goods/services included in the application, and the required fee. AAUs must be filed before the date the examining attorney approves the mark for publication in the Official Gazette. You should check the status of the application before filing the AAU to make sure that is timely. An AAU filed after the mark is approved for publication but before a notice of allowance has been issued (during the "blackout period") is untimely and cannot be accepted.

Annex F

Written specifications of the application-body document type definition (EFS filename is application-body. dtd) agreed to by the USPTO, WIPO, EPO, and JPO.

Anonymous Work

Work on the copies or phonorecords of which no natural person is identified as author.


[Old French apel, from apeler to call, accuse, appeal, from Latin appellare] : 1. a proceeding in which a case is brought before a higher court for review of a lower court's judgment to convince the higher court that the lower court's judgment was incorrect. 2. a proceeding in which a case is brought before a higher court for review of a lower court's judgment to convince the higher court that the lower court's judgment was incorrect.

Application (Trademark)

The document by which a person requests a federal trademark registration. To receive a filing date, an application must include (1) the applicant's name, (2) a name and address for correspondence, (3) a clear drawing of the mark sought to be registered, (4) a list of the goods or services, and (5) the application filing fee.

Application Date

The patent application date is the date upon which the patent office receives a patent application

Approval and Involvement

“approval and involvement,” various decisions on Article 8(j) have consistently interpreted this term to mean “prior and informed consent

Arbitrary Marks

Comprise words that are in common linguistic use but, when used to identify particular goods or services, do not suggest or describe a significant ingredient, quality, or characteristic of the goods or services (e.g., "Apple" for computers; "Old Crow" for whiskey).

Architectural Work

The design of a building is embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including a building, architectural plans, or drawings. The work includes the overall form as well as the arrangement and composition of spaces and elements in the design but does not include individual standard features.


The assignee is the organization or entity that holds the rights conferred by a patent


1. a transfer of ownership of a patent application or patent from one entity to another. Record all assignments with the USPTO Assignment Services Division to maintain clear title to pending patent applications and patents. 2. A transfer of ownership of a trademark application or trademark registration from one entity to another. The USPTO recommends recording assignments with the USPTO Assignment Services Division to maintain clear title to pending trademark applications and registrations.


The owner of the record of a patent application, patent, trademark application, or trademark registration who is transferring (assigning) ownership to another entity (assignee).


May be referred to as a practitioner or representative - an individual who is a member in good standing of the bar of any United States court or the highest court of any State and who is registered to practice before the Office.

Audiovisual Works

Works that consist of a series of related images which are intrinsically intended to be shown by the use of machines or devices such as projectors, viewers, or electronic equipment, together with accompanying sounds, if any, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as films or tapes, in which the works are embodied.


A governmental, intergovernmental, or other government-authorized body that is responsible for receiving, examining, issuing, extending, or maintaining patents

a fortiori

/ˌeɪ ˌfɔːtiˈɔːraɪ/ /ˌɑː ˌfɔːrtiˈɔːri/

Latin for "from stronger". An ”a fortiori” argument is an "argument from a stronger reason", meaning, because one fact is true, a second (related and included) fact must also be true.

a mensa et thoro

/eɪˈmɛnsəɛtˈθɔːrəʊ/ /ā men′sə et thôr′ō, thōr′ō/

Latin for "from table and bed". A mensa et thoro indicates legal separation without legal divorce.

a posteriori

/ˌeɪ pɒˌsteriˈɔːraɪ/ /ˌɑː pəʊˌstɪriˈɔːri/

Latin for "from later". An argument derived after an event, knowing the event. Inductive reasoning from observations and experiments.

a priori

/ˌeɪ praɪˈɔːraɪ/ /ˌɑː priˈɔːri/

Latin for "from earlier". An argument is derived before an event, without needing to know about the event. Deductive reasoning from general principles.

a quo

/ei ˈkwou/ /ɑː ˈkwou/

Latin for "from which". Regarding a court below in an appeal, either a court of the first instance or an appellate court, known as the court a quo.

ab extra

/æb ˈekstrə/ /ɑːb ˈekstʀɑː/

Latin for "from outside". Concerning a case, a person may have received some funding from a 3rd party. This funding may have been considered ”ab extra”.

ab initio

/ˌæb ɪˈnɪʃiəʊ/ /ˌæbɪˈnɪʃiˌoʊ /

Latin for "from the beginning". Commonly used when the time of contract, statute, marriage, or deed becomes legal. e.g. The couple was covered “ab initio” by her health policy.

absque hoc

/eɪbˈɛsk hɒk/ /æˈbɛsk hɑːk/

Latin for "without this". Presenting the negative portion of a plea when pleading at common by way a special traverse.


/əkˈseʃiəʊ/ /əkˈseʃiˌoʊ/

Latin for "something added". Accession, i.e. mode of acquisition by the creation in which labor and other goods are added to the property in such a manner that the identity of the original property is not lost (vs. commixtio, specificatio).

actus reus

/ˈæktəsˈreɪəs/ / æktəsˈriːəs/

Latin for "guilty act". Part of which proves criminal liability (with mens rea).

ad coelum

/ˌædˈsiːləʊm/ /ˌæd ˈsiləm/

Latin for "to the sky". Abbreviated from ”Cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad infernos” which translates to "[for] whoever owns [the] soil, [it] is his all the way [up] to Heaven and [down] to Hell." The principle that the owner of a parcel of land also owns the air above and the ground below the parcel.

ad colligenda bona

/æd kɒlɪˈdʒɛndə bəʊnə/ or /æd kɔləˈdʒɛndə bounə/

Latin for "to collect the goods".

ad hoc

/ˌæd ˈhɒk/ /ˌæd ˈhɑːk/

Latin for "for this". Generally signifies a solution designed for a specific problem or task, non-generalizable, and not intended to be able to be adapted to other purposes.

ad hominem

/ˌæd ˈhɒmɪnem/ /ˌæd ˈhɑːmɪnem/

Latin for "at the person". Attacking an opponent's character rather than answering his argument.

ad idem

/ ædˈaɪdɛm / /ædˈidɛm/

Latin for "to the same thing". In agreement.

ad infinitum

/ˌæd ɪnfɪˈnaɪtəm/ /ˌæd ɪnfɪˈnaɪtəm/

Latin for "to infinity". To continue forever.

ad litem

/æd ˈlaɪtɛm/ /æd ˈlaɪtəm/

Latin for "for the case". Describes those who are designated to represent parties deemed incapable of representing themselves, such as a child or incapacitated adult.

ad quantitatem

/æd kwɒntɪˌteɪtem/ or /æd kwɑntəˌteɪtem/

Latin for "by the quantity". Itemized, e.g. sale ad quantitative = item sale (e.g. 100 carp, 10,000 lbs. of sugar, 10 casks of corn) (vs. per aversionem).

ad quod damnum

/æd kwɒd dæmnem/ or /æd ˈkwoud dæmnəm/

Latin for "according to the harm". Used in tort law. Implies that the reward or penalty ought to correspond to the damage suffered or inflicted.

ad valorem

/ˌæd vəˈlɔːrem/ /ˌæd vəˈlɔːrem/

Latin for "according to value".

aditio hereditatis

/ædɪʃɪˌəʊ hɪˌrɛdɪˈtɛtis/ or /ædɪʃiˌoʊ həˌrɛdɪˈtɛtis/

Latin for "hereditary approach". Entering into the inheritance, i.e. vesting of the inheritance in an heir or will beneficiary.

adjournment sine die

/ədʒɜːʳnmənt saɪnɪ ˈdaɪɪ/

Latin for "adjournment without a day". When an assembly adjourns without setting a date for its next meeting.

adminiculum (probationis)

/ædˈmɪnɪkjʊləm/ /ædˈmɪnɪkjulɪm/

Latin for "adjournment without a day". When an assembly adjourns without setting a date for its next meeting.

alter ego

/ˌɔːltər ˈiːɡəʊ/ /ˌɔːltər ˈiːɡəʊ/

Latin for "another I". A second identity living within a person.

amicus curiae

/æˈmiːkʊs ˈkjʊərɪˌiː/ ˈkjʊriˌi /

Latin for "friend of the court". A person who offers information to a court regarding a case before it.

animus contrahendi

/ˈænɪməs kɒntrəhəndɪ/ or /ˈænɪməs kɒntrəhəndi/

Latin for "contractual intent". Intention to contract.

animus nocendi

/ˈænɪməsˈnəʊsəndɪ//ˈænɪməs ˈnoʊsəndi/

Latin for "intention to harm". The subjective state of mind of the author of a crime, regarding the exact knowledge of illegal content of his behavior, and its possible consequences.

animus possidendi

/ˈænɪməs pɒzɪdɛndɪ/ or /ˈænɪməs pɑsidɛndɪ/

Latin for "intention to possess". To claim possessory rights, an individual must establish physical control of the res and the intention to possess (i.e. animus possidendi)"

animus revertendi

/ˈænɪməs rɪˈvɜːtəndɪ/ or /ˈænɪməs rɪˈvɜrtəndi/

Latin for "intention to return". "Wild animals, such as bees and homing pigeons, that by habit go 'home' to their possessor. Used when discussing ferae naturae."


/ˈænti/ /ˈænti/

Latin for "before". “An antenuptial agreement is a contract between two people that is executed before marriage.”

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