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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.


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Business Impact Analysis.


Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences.


Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences Information System.


Business Reference Model - an organized, hierarchical way to describe the day-to-day business operations of the Federal government; this model presents the business using a functionally driven approach regardless of organizational structure.

Backward Citation

A citation of an earlier patent in a patent document


There is no universally accepted definition of the term. However, it has been argued by many stakeholders that traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions are generally regarded as collectively originated and held so that any rights and interests in this material should vest in communities rather than individuals. In some cases, however, individuals, such as traditional healers, might be regarded as the holders of traditional knowledge or traditional cultural expressions and as beneficiaries of protection

Benefit Claim

The claiming by an applicant in a nonprovisional application of a benefit of an invention disclosed in a prior-filed co-pending (under examination at the same time) provisional or nonprovisional application, or international application designating the U.S. to secure an earlier-effective filing date for the nonprovisional application.

Berne Convention

The Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, signed at Berne, Switzerland, on September 9, 1886, and all acts, protocols, and revisions thereto.

Best Edition

The “best edition” of a work is the edition, published in the United States at any time before the date of deposit, that the Library of Congress determines to be most suitable for its purposes.

Bio-Sequence Listings

A document that must be included only if a nucleotide or amino acid sequence is part of the invention. With EFS, paper documents are not required for bio-sequence or subsequent bio-sequence submissions.

Biotechnological Inventions

This term is defined in the European Union Directive on the Legal Protection of Biotechnological Inventions as “inventions which concern a product consisting of or containing biological material or a process using biological material is produced, processed or used.” Biotechnological inventions fall into three categories: processes of the creation and modification of living organisms and biological material, the results of such processes, and the use of such results.


Article 2 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) defines the term as “any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use.” The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (2010) uses the same definition in its Article 2.

Blackout Period

The period between the date the USPTO's examining attorney approves a trademark for publication and the date of issuance of the Notice of Allowance from the USPTO. The applicant may not file an Allegation of Use during this period.


Boolean logic (named for the British-born Irish mathematician George Boole) is a way to express relationships in logic arguments using the following three operators: "and", "or", "not". The patent search systems use "AND", "OR", and "AND NOT" as Boolean operators, in combination with parentheses to build nested logical subsets - example: needle AND NOT ((record AND player) OR sewing), which would return anything with the word "needle" in a document as long as it does not also contain the word "record" and "player" in the same document or the word "sewing" in the same document. It also uses some symbols such as "->" to indicate a range, where you enter the field code and start date, ->, and then the end date - example: ISD/1/1/1995->2/14/1995.

bona fide

/ˈbəʊnə ˈfaɪdɪ/ /bounə ˈfaidi/

Latin for "in good faith". Implies sincere good intention regardless of the outcome.

bona vacantia

/ˈbəʊnəvəˈkæntɪə//ˈbounɑː vɑːˈkɑːntiɑː/

Latin for "ownerless goods".


/ bəʊˌnɪs/ /ˈbounɪs/

Latin for "[of] property".

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