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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Certification and Accreditation.
Cease and desist letter.
Computer-aided design. Product mock-ups are often registered at intellectual property offices using CAD software.
Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting.
Combined Federal Campaign. An annual government-wide campaign for charitable contributions from Federal employees.
Chief Financial Officer/Chief Administrative Officer.
Code of Federal Regulations.
Core Financial System.
Chief Information Officer.
Continuation-in-Part. An application filed during the lifetime of an earlier nonprovisional application, repeating some substantial portion or all of the earlier nonprovisional application and adding matter not disclosed in the earlier nonprovisional application.
Continuation-In-Part application. This allows an applicant to add subject matter that was not disclosed in the original patent application to a pending filing. However, unlike the continuation application, the CIP application will receive a new priority date.
Customer Information System.
Conference on Fair Use.
Commercial Off-The-Shelf. An acquisition term referring to commercially available ready to use products that require no customization to meet performance requirements.
Continued Prosecution Application. A continuation or divisional application filed in a design application under 37 CFR 1.53(d). NOTE: CPAs may no longer be filed in utility and plant patent applications, effective 14 July 2003.
Co-operative classification - a classification system for patents, jointly developed by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The CPC is a more specific and detailed version of the International Patent Classification (IPC) system
Capital Planning and Investment Control. Envisioned in the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, OMB Circular A-130 (Management of Federal Information Resources) and other related guidance, this is a management process for ongoing identification, selection, control, and evaluation of investments in information resources. The process links budget formulation and execution, and is focused on agency missions and achieving specific program outcomes.
Computer Readable Format.
Central Reexamination Unit.
Customer Service Representative.
Cascading Style Sheet - a technology used for webpages to format fonts and control layouts on the computer display.
Committee on WIPO Standards.
/ˈkɑːdɪt kwiːstʃəʊ/ /kəˈdɪt kwɛstʃoʊ/
Latin for "the question falls". This indicates that a settlement to a dispute or issue has been reached, and the issue is now resolved.
Trademark registration is no longer viable. It may be due to the registrant's failure to file the required continued use affidavit under Section 8 of the Trademark Act, to a cancellation proceeding at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, or to the outcome of a civil court action.
A claim that is canceled or deleted. "Canceled" is the status identifier that should be used when a claim is canceled in an application.
A proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in which the plaintiff seeks to cancel an existing registration of a mark. The proceeding may only be filed after the issuance of a registration. A petition for cancellation may be filed by any person who believes that he or she is or will be damaged by the registration of the mark.
/ˈkɑːsʊs ˈbɛliː/ /ˈkeɪsəs ˈbɛlˌaɪ/
Latin for "case of war". The justification for acts of war.
Latin for "May he beware". When used by itself, refers to a qualification, or warning.
Latin for "Let the buyer beware". In addition to the general warning, it also refers to a legal doctrine wherein a buyer could not get relief from a seller for defects present on the property which rendered it unfit for use.
Certificate Of Registration
Official document from the USPTO evidencing that a trademark has been registered.
Certificate of Mailing
A certificate for each piece of correspondence mailed, prior to the expiration of the set period time for response, stating the date of deposit with the U.S. Postal Service and including a signature.
Any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used, in commerce by someone other than its owner, to certify regional or another origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality, accuracy, or other characteristics of such person's goods or services, or that the work or labor on the goods or services was performed by members of a union or other organization.
Latin for "to be apprised". A type of writ seeking judicial review.
Cessante ratione legis cessat ipsa lex
/ˈsezæntɪ ˈræʃən ˈlɛdʒɪs sɛˈseɪt ɪpsɑ lɛks/ /ˈsesəænti ˈreɪʃən ˈlɛdʒɪs ˈsesət ɪpsə lɛks/
Latin for "when the reason for a law ceases, so does the law itself". Herbert Broom′s text of 1858 on legal maxims lists the phrase under the heading ″Rules of logic″, stating: Reason is the soul of the law, and when the reason of any particular law ceases, so does the law itself.
Latin for "with other things the same". More commonly rendered in English as "All other things being equal."
Change of Name
Sometimes, owners of trademark applications and registrations change their names, even though the actual ownership of the application or registration has not been transferred. When this occurs, trademark owners should record the name change with the USPTO Assignment Branch to maintain a clear record of ownership. Name changes are recorded in the same manner as assignments.
The first, mandatory phase under the Patent Cooperation Treaty includes the performance of an international-type search, issuance of an International Search Report, and the publication of the application and Search Report by the International Bureau of WIPO.
The second, optional phase under the Patent Cooperation Treaty includes an examination of the international application and issuance of an International Preliminary Examination Report.
Civil copyright infringement
Relating to disputes between persons or entities (such as a business), where the remedy sought is a civil claim for infringement of copyright, such as removal of the offending material.
The claims explain the extent, or the scope, of the protection conferred by a patent, or the protection sought in a patent application. Claims define the invention and are what aspects are legally enforceable. The specification must conclude with a claim particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the applicant regards as his invention or discovery. The claim or claims must conform to the invention as outlined in the remainder of the specification and the terms and phrases used in the claims must find clear support or antecedent basis in the description so that the meaning of the terms in the claims may be ascertainable (clearly understood ) by reference to the description.
Patents are classified (organized) in the U.S. by a system using a 3 digit class and a 3 digit subclass to describe every similar grouping of patent art. A single invention may be described by multiple classification codes.
Classification of Goods and Services
Goods and services are classified by an international system, according to international treaties to which the United States is a signatory. All goods and services included in trademark applications are classified by the Office according to this system.
Clearing House Mechanism
According to a glossary used by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), a Clearing House Mechanism (CHM) originally referred to a financial establishment where checks and bills are exchanged among member banks so that only the net balances need to be settled in cash.
An inventor who is named with at least one other inventor in a patent application, wherein each inventor contributes to the conception (creation) of the invention outlined in at least one claim in a patent application.
Codified Traditional Knowledge
Codified traditional knowledge is “traditional knowledge which is in some systematic and structured form, in which the knowledge is ordered, organized, classified and categorized in some manner.”
A trademark or service mark used, or intended to be used in commerce, by the members of a cooperative, an association, or other collective group or organization, including a mark that indicates membership in a union, an association, or other organization.
A work, such as a periodical issue, anthology, or encyclopedia, in which several contributions, constituting separate and independent works in themselves, are assembled into a collective whole.
A patent granted for an invention that unites existing components in a novel way.
A clause in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution that empowers Congress to regulate interstate commerce and commerce with foreign countries and that forms the constitutional basis for much federal regulation.
An inventor whose name is listed on multiple patent applications or granted patents, making the inventions at least partially the work of the same person.
Common Law Rights
Property or other legal rights that do not require formal registration to enforce them. Proving such rights for a trademark in court can be very difficult, requires meticulous documentation, and places a heavy burden on the individual. Active Federal registration of a trademark can provide a higher degree of legal protection and readily-demonstrated evidence of ownership of a mark.
A work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship. The term “compilation” includes collective works.
Used when defining the scope of a claim. A transitional phrase that is interpreted in the same manner as either "consisting of" or "consisting essentially of," depending on the facts of the particular case (context).
Used when defining the scope of a claim. A transitional phrase that is synonymous with (means the same thing as) "including," "containing" or "characterized by;" is inclusive or open-ended and does not exclude additional, unrecited elements or method steps. Comprising is a term of art used in claim language which means that the named elements are essential in describing the invention.
A set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer to bring about a certain result.
An idea or design.
A four-digit number assigned to each newly filed patent application. The confirmation number, in combination with the application number, is used to verify the accuracy of the application number placed on correspondence filed with the Office to avoid misidentification of an application due to a transposition error (misplaced digits) in the application number. The Office recommends that applicants include the application's confirmation number (in addition to the application number) on all correspondence submitted to the Office concerning the application.
Consisting Essentially Of
A transitional phrase that limits the scope of a claim to the specified materials or steps and those that do not materially affect the basic and novel characteristics of the claimed invention. To search for and apply prior art under 35 U.S.C. §102 and §103, absent (without) a clear indication in the specification or claims of what the basic and novel characteristics are, "consisting essentially of" will be construed (understood) as equivalent to "comprising.".
A transitional phrase that is closed (only includes exactly what is stated) and excludes any element, step, or ingredient not specified in the claim.
Consultation is the act of asking the advice or opinion of someone (such as a lawyer).
A second application for the same invention is claimed in a prior nonprovisional application and filed before the first application becomes abandoned or patented.
This enables inventors to add new claims to a patent application, provided the original application is pending or has not been abandoned while maintaining the original priority date
A continuation, divisional, or continuation-in-part patent application.
A national Office or an intergovernmental organization that is party to a treaty such as PCT or Madrid Protocol.
A national Office or an intergovernmental organization that is party to a treaty such as PCT or Madrid Protocol.
The unique number assigned to a patent reexamination request when it is filed, having a 2-digit series code (90 for ex parte reexamination requests; 95 for inter partes reexamination requests), and a 6-digit control number.
Convention on Biological Diversity
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international convention adopted in June 1992 during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. According to Article 1, the Convention aims at “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding.” It entered into force on December 29, 1993.
Material objects, other than phonorecords, in which a work is fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. The term “copies” includes the material object, other than a phonorecord, in which the work is first fixed.
A term used often in association with open source software, it is an agreement that allows a piece of work to be used, modified or redistributed provided that the same conditions apply to the newly created work.
Rights granted to the creator of a concept or idea within literary, musical or other artistic works
A small number of things you can legally do with someone else’s work, without needing the permission of the copyright owner.
For any one of the exclusive rights contained in a copyright, refers to the owner of that particular right.
An application filed in a foreign patent office that is substantially similar to (like) the patent application filed with the USPTO and is based upon some or all of the same invention. The two applications would generally have the same applicant.
Country of Origin of Genetic Resources
According to Article 2 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992), “country of origin of genetic resources” means “the country which possesses those genetic resources in in-situ conditions.” Other definitions include genetic resources in ex-situ conditions. For instance, a country of origin is defined by Article 1 of the Decision 391 on Access to Genetic Resources of Andean Community (1996) as a “country that possesses genetic resources in in-situ conditions, including those which, having been in in-situ conditions, are now in ex-situ conditions.”
Country providing Genetic Resources
According to Article 2 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992), “Country providing genetic resources“ means “the country supplying resources collected from in-situ sources, including populations of both wild and domesticated species, or taken from ex-situ sources, which may or may not have originated in that country.”
When work is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time; where work is prepared over a while, the portion of it that has been fixed at any particular time constitutes the work as of that time, and where the work has been prepared in different versions, each version constitutes a separate work.
The Creative Commons organization helps to facilitate the legal public distribution of creative or knowledge-based pieces of work. It offers an alternative to copyright, under which all rights are reserved, with licenses that allow creators to make their work available to the public for limited kinds of uses while preserving their copyright.
Criminal copyright infringement
An activity that is enabling the distribution or access of stolen or infringe intellectual property. These activities are treated differently by the courts and include such examples as importing counterfeit goods or setting up a website to distribute pirated material.
“Cultural community” has been defined as a tightly knit social unit whose members experience
According to the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005),
cultural diversity refers to the manifold ways in which the cultures of groups and societies find expression. These expressions are passed on within and among groups and societies.
The United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) defines cultural
expressions as “those expressions that result from the creativity of individuals, groups and societies, and that have cultural content.”
Cultural identity denotes the correspondence which exists between a community, national, ethnic, linguistic, etc, and its cultural life, as well as the right of each community to its own culture. The International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (1989) stipulates that governments should promote the full realization of the social, economic, and cultural rights of these peoples with respect for their social and cultural identity, their customs and traditions and their institutions.
Cultural property is defined in Article 1 of the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970) as property which, on religious or secular grounds, is specifically designated by each State as being of importance for archaeology, prehistory, history, literature, art or science.
Current Filing Basis
In applications under SS1 and 44 of the Trademark Act, the applicant may claim more than one basis, and may add or substitute a basis after applying the application. The "current filing basis" means the basis, as amended (changed after the initial or original filing). If the basis has not been amended, the current filing basis is the same as the original filing basis.
A “custodian” is a “person or institution that has charge or custody (of a child, property, papers, or other valuables).” The term “custodian” in the context of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions refers to those communities, peoples, individuals and other entities which, according to customary laws and other practices, maintain, use and develop the traditional knowledge and cultural expressions. It expresses a notion that is different from “ownership”, since it conveys a sense of responsibility to ensure that the traditional knowledge or cultural expressions are used in a way that is consistent with community values and customary law.
“Customary context” refers to the utilization of traditional knowledge or cultural expressions following the practices of everyday life of the community, such as, for instance, usual ways of selling copies of tangible expressions of folklore by local craftsmen.
Customary Law and Protocols
Law “consisting of customs that are accepted as legal requirements or obligatory rules of conduct; practices and beliefs that are so vital and intrinsic a part of a social and economic system that they are treated as if they were laws.” Customary law has also been defined as “locally recognized principles, and more specific norms or rules, which are orally held and transmitted, and applied by community institutions to internally govern or guide all aspects of life.” How customary laws are embodied differ from one another. For instance, the laws can be codified, written or oral, expressly articulated or implemented in traditional practices. Another important element is whether these laws are actually “formally” recognized by and/or linked to the national legal systems of the country in which a community resides.
Customary practices may be described as the acts and use governing and guiding aspects of a community’s life. Customary practices are ingrained within the community and embedded in the way it lives and works. They cannot be perceived as stand-alone, codified “laws'' as such.
Previously referred to as "payor number" - a number assigned by the Office that is used to simplify the submission of an address change, to appoint a practitioner, or to designate the fee address for a patent. Customer numbers are primarily used by attorneys and law firms, and must be requested using the "Request for Customer Number" form (PTO/SB/125).
Cyber attacks are crimes in which the computer system of the company is the target. Cyber attacks consist of computer viruses (including worms and Trojan horses), denial of service attacks, and electronic vandalism or sabotage, and can sometimes aim to target or steal intellectual property, such as trade secrets.
/ˈkɑːsʊs fɔːˈtjuːɪtəs/ /ˈkeɪsəs fɔrˈtuətəs/
Latin for "fortuitous event". Force majeure arising from a man-made inevitable accident (e.g. riots, strikes, civil war); ex: When H.M.S. Bounty was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, October 29, 2012, casus fortuitus would describe the H.M.S. Bounty being at the wrong place when Hurricane Sandy came up the coast.
cautio de restituendo
/ˈkɔːʃəʊ di rɛstɪˌtjuːtʊˈɛndəʊ/ or /kɔʃəoʊ də restɪˌtuːtuˈɛndoʊ/
Latin for "guarantee to reinstate". Security or guarantee that heirs must provide in a case where an absent person's estate is divided among them (insurance law)
Latin for "cedent". Assignor
Latin for "yielding". Assignment, that is, the transfer of rights or benefits.
/kɒˈleɪʃɪˌəʊ bɒnərʌm/ /koʊˈleɪʃoʊ (bəˈnoʊrʌm/
Latin for "bringing together of goods''. Hotchpot. Also called collatio inter liberos (Scots law).
Latin for "commingling". Confusion, i.e. acquisition by the creation in which fungible solid or liquid goods (and no labor) of different owners intermingle in such a way that the mixture creates a new thing and can no longer be separately identified, it is owned by the owners in co-ownership (vs. accessio, specificatio)
Latin for "bailor".
Latin for "bailee".
Latin for "accommodation". Loan for use, i.e. bailment of movable property that is not perishable or consumable to be returned without payment.
/kəˈmjuːnɪəʊ bɒnərʌm/ /kəˈmjunɪˌoʊ bəˈnoʊrʌm/
Latin for "community of goods". The aggregate of marital property (or marital estate) under a community property matrimonial regime.
Latin for "balancing of accounts". Set-off. Type: compensatio lucri cum damno - set-off of profit and loss
/ˌkɒmpɛnˈseɪʃɪˌəʊˈmɔːriː/ /ˌkɑmpənˈseɪʃoʊ məˈreɪ/
Latin for "balance of delay". Delay in payment or performance on the part of both the debtor and the creditor.
/ˈkɒmpəs ˈmɛntɪs/ /ˈkɑmpəs ˈmɛntɪs/
Latin for "having command of mind". Of sound mind. Also used in the negative "Non compos mentis", meaning "Not of a sound mind".
condicio sine qua non
/kənˈdɪʃɪəʊ saɪn kweɪ nɔ̃̃/ or /kɔ̃̃diʃoʊ ˈsaɪnɪ kwɑ nɔ̃̃/
Latin for "A condition without which it could not be". An indispensable and essential action, condition, or ingredient.
Latin for "melting together". The merger of counterparty rights in the same person (e.g. debtor-creditor, buyer-seller, landlord-tenant, etc.), thereby extinguishing an obligation or right. Adverb: confusione.
Latin for "the most joined". Next-of-kin. Plural conjunctissimi.
consensus ad idem
/kənˈsɛnsəs æd ˈaɪdɛm/ /kənˈsɛnsəs æd ˈaidem/
Latin for "agreement to the same". Meeting of the minds, mutual assent, or concurrence of wills. Parties must be of one mind and their promises must relate to the same subject or object Also consensus in idem.
Latin for "against". Used in case citations to indicate that the cited source directly contradicts the point being made.
contra bonos mores
/kɒntrə bɒŋəʊ ˈmɔːreɪz/ or /kɑːntrə ˈbɑŋoʊ ˈmoʊrˌiz/
Latin for "against good morals". Contracts so made are generally illegal and unenforceable.
/kɒntrə ˈlɛɡɛm/ /kɑːntrə ˈlɛgəm/
Latin for "against the law". Used when a court or tribunal hands down a decision that is contrary to the laws of the governing state.
/kɒntrə ˈprɒfərɛntəm/ /kɑːntrə ˈprɑfərrɛntəm/
Latin for "against the one bringing forth". Used in contract law to stipulate that an ambiguous term in a contract shall be interpreted against the interests of the party that insisted upon the term's inclusion. Prevents the intentional additions of ambiguous terminology from being exploited by the party who insisted on its inclusion.
contradictio in adjecto
/kɒntrəˈdɪkʃɪˌəʊ ɪn ædʒɪktoʊ/ or /ˌkɑntrəˈdɪkʃoʊ in ˈædʒɪktoʊ/
Latin for "contradiction in itself". A contradiction between parts of an argument.
coram non judice
/ˈkəʊræm nɒn dʒuːdɪsɪ/ or /ˈkɔːrəm nɔ̃̃ dʒudəˌsi/
Latin for "before one who is not a judge". Refers to a legal proceeding without a judge, or with a judge who does not have proper jurisdiction.
/ˈkɔːpəs dɪˈlɪktaɪ/ /ˈkɔrpəs dəˈlɪkˌtaɪ/
Latin for "body of the crime". A person cannot be convicted of a crime unless it can be proven that the crime was even committed.
/ˈkɔːpəs dʒʊərɪs/ /ˈkɔrpəs dʒʊrɪs/
Latin for "body of law". The complete collection of laws of a particular jurisdiction or court.
corpus juris civilis
/ˈkɔːpəs dʒʊərɪs sɪˈvaɪlɪs/ or /ˈkɔrpəs dʒʊrɪs sɪˈvaɪlɪs/
Latin for "body of civil law". The complete collection of civil laws of a particular jurisdiction or court. Also sometimes used to refer to the Code of Justinian.
corpus juris gentium
/ˈkɔːpəs dʒʊərɪs ˈdʒɛntɪəm/ or /ˈkɔrpəs dʒʊrɪs ˈdʒɛnʃiəm/
Latin for "body of the law of nations". The complete collection of international law.
corpus juris secundum
/ˈkɔːpəs dʒʊərɪs sɛˈkʊndʊm/ or /ˈkɔrpəs dʒʊrɪs sɪˈkʌndəm/
An encyclopedia of US law drawn from US Federal and State court decisions.
/kraɪmən ˈfɔːlsɪ/ /krɪmɛn ˈfɔlsə/
Latin for "crime of falsifying". Forgery.
/kwiː ˈbəʊnəʊ/ /kuˈi boʊˌnoʊ/
Latin for "as a benefit to whom?". Suggests that the perpetrator(s) of a crime can often be found by investigating those who would have benefited financially from the crime, even if it is not immediately obvious.
Latin for "guilt". Unintentional negligence (in tort).
/ˈkʊlpɑː ˈlɑːtə/ /ˈkʊlpə ˈlɑːtə/
/kʊlpɑː livɪzsaɪmə/ /kʊlpə ˈliːvɪzˈsaɪmə/
/ˈkʊlpɑː ˈliːvaɪz/ /ˈkʊlpə ˈliˌvaɪz/
cum beneficio inventarii
/kʌm ˈbɛnɪfɪsɪəʊ ˈɪnvəntərɪ/ or /kʌm bɛnɪfɪˈsaoʊ ɪnvənˌtɔri/
Latin for "under the benefit of inventory". As in an heir cum beneficio inventarii, who accepts his/her share in a deceased's estate after having had an appraisal and estate inventory drawn up, thereby separating their share from the whole and limiting their liability.
/kʌm ɒnɛə/ /kʌm ɑnɛr/
Latin for "with burdens". (Louisiana law) as encumbered, i.e. alienated with the encumbrances running with the land.
Latin for "guardianship". Curatorship, i.e. legal guardianship under which the ward is totally and permanently incapable.
Latin for "ward".
Latin for "guardian". Guardian under a curatorship (cura).
curia advisari vult
/kjʊərɪə ədˈvaɪzərɪ vʌlt/ or /ˈkjʊriə ædˈvaɪzəri vʌlt/
Latin for "the court wishes to consider". Signifies the intent of a court to consider the points of the law argued during advocacy, before judgement.