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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.


Foreign Agricultural Service.


Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board.


First Action System for Trademarks.


Final Data Capture.
Once the fee, any correspondence, and/or drawings are matched with the application and all requirements have been met for issuance as a patent, the application is then forwarded to the Final Data Capture (FDC) stage of the process. An "Issue Notification" would be the next step in the processing of a patent and is mailed approximately 3 weeks before the issue date of the patent.


Federal Enterprise Architecture.


Federal Financial Management Improvement Act.


Federal Identity Credentialing Committee.


Federal Information Security Management Act.


Free, libre, open source software - This relates to software that can be freely copied and used, modified, and redistributed. The source code can also be freely modified to improve the software as part of a collective, pooled community effort.


Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act.


Freedom of Information Act.


Fastener Quality Act.


Federal Register.


Reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (RAND), also known as fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND). In patent terms, it relates to the granting or licensing of rights to a specific technology if it is fundamental to a standard within that technology area (such as, for example, GSM or GPRS). The owner of the protected technology is required to provide access to the intellectual property relating to that technology on a fair and reasonable basis if a standards organization deems it essential to a specific standard.

FRAND rate

FRAND rate refers to the reasonable licensing rate charged on licenses


Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.


As the WIPO describes: “A Freedom to Operate (FTO) analysis invariably begins by searching patent literature for issued or pending patents, and obtaining a legal opinion as to whether a product, process or service may be considered to infringe any patent(s) owned by others.” It may also be called a clearance search or non-infringement search and the search analysis essentially constitutes a risk assessment.
The key distinction between a patentability search and an FTO search is that an FTO search only includes patents. An inventor may have freedom to operate in an area, but this doesn’t mean that he or she can patent there.


File Wrapper Continuing application.
A continuation, continuation-in-part, or divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.62*, which uses the specification, drawings and oath or declaration from a prior nonprovisional application, which is complete as defined by 37 CFR 1.51(a)(1).
* NOTE: 37 CFR 1.62 was deleted effective December 1, 1997.


Fiscal year - the federal fiscal year extends from October 1 through September 30.

Fair Practice

The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1971) uses the expression “fair practice” in certain provisions on exceptions to copyright protection. For determining what kind of practice may be regarded as “fair,” the criteria of the three-step test should be taken into account.

Fanciful Marks

Comprise terms that have been invented for the sole purpose of functioning as a trademark or service mark. Such marks comprise words that are either unknown in the language (e.g., PEPSI, KODAK, EXXON) or are completely out of common usage (e.g., FLIVVER).

Farmers’ Rights

Article 9.1 of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture recognizes “the enormous contribution that the local and indigenous communities and farmers of all regions of the world, particularly those in the centers of origin and crop diversity, have made and will continue to make for the conservation and development of plant genetic resources which constitute the basis of food and agriculture production throughout the world.” Article 9.2 defines “farmers’ rights” as “(a) protection of traditional knowledge relevant to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture; (b) the right to equitably participate in sharing benefits arising from the utilization of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture; and (c) the right to participate in making decisions, at the national level, on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.”

Fastener Quality Act

Fastener Quality Act (15 U.S.C. §5401 et seq., as amended by Public Law 104-113, Public Law 105-234, and Public Law 106-34); implementing regulations: 15 C.F.R. Part 280.
Purpose: Protects against the sale of mismarked, misrepresented, and counterfeit fasteners.

File Wrapper

In addition to the patent document itself, numerous additional documents are created during the application process that pertain to the patent, such as documents prepared by the examiner, summaries of interviews or other correspondence. The file wrapper is an electronic folder that contains these supporting documents that may, for example, be called on in the event of any legal dispute. It contains a complete record of proceedings in the USPTO from the filing of the initial patent application to the issued patent. The file wrapper of a patent application that is maintained by the Office is the "official record.".

Filing Basis

The legal basis for applying for registration of a mark. The Trademark Act sets out five filing bases, and an applicant must specify and meet the requirements of one or more bases before the mark will be approved for publication for opposition or registration on the Supplemental Register. The five bases are: (1) use of a mark in commerce under S1(a) of the Act; (2) bona fide intention to use a mark in commerce under S1(b) of the Act; (3) a claim of priority, based on an earlier-filed foreign application under S44(d) of the Act; (4) registration of a mark in the applicant's country of origin under S44(e) of the Act; and (5) extension of protection of an international registration to the United States, under S66(a) of the Act and the Madrid Protocol. The requirements for the bases are outlined in Trademark Rule 2.34.
If no basis is set forth in the original application for registration, the examining attorney will issue an Office action requiring the applicant to specify a basis and meet all requirements for the basis. In applications under SS1 and 44, the applicant may claim more than one basis, and/or may add or substitute a basis after filing the application.

Filing Date

The date of receipt in the Office of an application includes (1) a specification containing a description and, if the application is a nonprovisional application, at least one claim, and (2) any required drawings.

Filing Receipt

When an application is submitted via e-TEAS, the Office immediately issues a confirmation of filing via e-mail that includes the serial number and filing date, and a summary of all the data provided by the applicant in the application. This serves as evidence of filing. Applicants who file paper applications receive printed filing receipts that list the application serial number and filing date, the mark, the applicant's name, the goods and/or services, the filing bases, if available; the international class(es), and the address to be used for correspondence.

Filing Refusal

Also known as a final Office action, which makes "final" any outstanding refusals or requirements. A proper response to a final Office action is a) compliance with the requirements or b) appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Final Office Action (Rejection)

An Office action on the second or any subsequent examination or consideration by an examiner that is intended to close the prosecution of a nonprovisional patent application.

Applicant's reply under 37 CFR 1.113 to a final rejection is limited either to an appeal in the case of rejection of any claim to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (37 CFR 1.191) or to an amendment complying with the requirements set forth in the Office action (37 CFR 1.114 or 1.116). Reply to a final rejection must comply with 37 CFR 1.114 or include cancellation of, or appeal from the rejection of, each rejected claim. If any claim stands allowed, the reply to a final rejection must comply with any requirements or objections as to form (37 CFR 1.113(c)).

Financial Gain

Includes receipt, or expectation of receipt, of anything of value, including the receipt of other copyrighted works.


Fixation is the process or result of recording a work of authorship in tangible form. Fixation of a work or object of related rights in material form (including storage in an electronic (computer) memory), must be done in a sufficiently stable form, in a way that on this basis the work or object of related rights may be perceived, reproduced or communicated to the public. Fixation in material form is not always a necessary prerequisite of protectability, but the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1971) allows national copyright laws to make fixation such a condition. The fixation of traditional cultural expressions in a material form may establish new intellectual property rights in the fixation and these rights may be used indirectly to protect the traditional cultural expressions themselves such a strategy has been used to protect ancient rock art. It has been argued that the use of the term “expression” could give the impression of a fixation requirement for protection of traditional cultural expressions.


A work is “fixed” in a tangible medium of expression when its embodiment in a copy or phonorecord, by or under the authority of the author, is sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration. A work consisting of sounds, images, or both, that are being transmitted, is “fixed” for purposes of this title if a fixation of the work is being made simultaneously with its transmission.


As defined in the United Nations Education, Science And Culture Organization (UNESCO) Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore (1989), “folklore (or traditional and popular culture) is the totality of tradition-based creations, of a cultural community, expressed by a group or individuals and recognized as reflecting the expectations of a community in so far as they reflect its cultural and social identity; its standards and values are transmitted orally, by imitation or by other means. Its forms are, among others, language, literature, music, dance, games, mythology, rituals, customs, handicrafts, architecture and other arts.”

Food Service or Drinking Establishment

A restaurant, inn, bar, tavern, or any other similar place of business in which the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink, in which the majority of the gross square feet of space that is nonresidential is used for that purpose, and in which nondramatic musical works are performed publicly.


A formality is an act, esp. an established form or conventional procedure, that must be done to make something legal. In the copyright context, the term “formality” refers to a procedural or administrative requirement, such as placing a copyright notice, deposing copies or registration, to be fulfilled as a condition for the acquisition, enjoyment and exercise (including the enforceability) of copyright or related rights. Under the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1971), the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS Agreement), the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, the enjoyment and exercise of the rights may not be subject to any formality.


Forms are provided as either official or unofficial (optional) formats to facilitate providing all information required to initiate desired procedures or respond to official procedural correspondence. Control numbers are assigned to identify each form and customers are usually instructed to locate forms by short form numbers rather than lengthy form titles.

Forward Citation

When a patent is referenced by a subsequent application document

Front End Innovation

Refers to the starting point of an innovation project where concepts are explored and developed, but before the formal and structured new product development (NPD) begins. Most often, the front end refers to activities before gate 3 of the Stage-Gate (TM) process.

facio ut facias

/feɪʃɪəʊ ʌt feɪʃɪəs/
/feiʃiˌæoʊ ʌt feiʃiˌæs/

Latin for "I do, that you may do". A type of contract wherein one party agrees to do work for the other, so that the second party can then perform some work for the first in exchange.


/ˈfæktəm/ /fæktəm/

Latin for "deed". 1. an assured statement made; 2. completion of a will and all its parts to make it valid and legal; 3). book of facts and law presented in a Canadian court.

falsus procurator

/fɔːlses prɒkjʊˌreɪtə/
/fɔlses ˈprɑkjuˌreɪtər/

Latin for "fake agent". Agent de son tort, officious agent.

favor contractus

/feɪvə kənˈtræktʃəs/
/feivər kənˈtræktʃəs/

Latin for "favor of the contract". A concept in treaty law that prefers the maintaining of a contract over letting it expire for purely procedural reasons.

felo de se

/ˈfiːləʊ dɪ ˈsi/ /eloudɪˈsi/

Latin for "felon of himself". A suicide. This archaic term stems from English common law, where suicide was legally a felony, thus a person who committed suicide was treated like a felon for purposes of estate disposal.

ferae naturae

/fɪˈreɪ nætjʊˈreɪ/

Latin for "wild animals by nature". Wild animals residing on the unowned property do not belong to any party in a dispute on the land.


/faɪət/ /faɪət/

Latin for "Let it be done". A warrant issued by a judge for some legal proceedings.



Latin for "fideicommissary". Beneficiary



Latin for "entrusting to (a person's) good faith". Testamentary trust; a form of substitution (called ‘fideicommissary substitution’) in which a will beneficiary is instructed in the will to transfer the testamentary gift in whole or part to a third party. A fideicommissum is created either expressly in a will or impliedly through a si sine liberis decesserit clause or a prohibition against alienation in the will.


/fɪˈduːʃɪərɪəs/ /fɪˈduʃiˌɛriəs/

Latin for "fiduciary". Trustee

fieri facias

/faɪəˌraɪ ˈfeɪʃɪəs/ /faiəˌrai ˈfeiʃiˌæs/

Latin for "May you cause to be done". A writ ordering the local law enforcement to ensure that damages awarded by the court are properly recovered. A writ of execution.

fortis attachiamentum, validior praesumptionem

/fɔːtɪs əˈtætʃməntem, vælɪˌdeɪːˈɔ/
/fɔrtɪs əˈtætʃməntem, væləˌdeɪɔr/

Latin for "strong attachment, the stronger presumption". When determining whether a chattel is a fixture: "size doesn't matter, how much or degree chattel is attached to 'land' and to 'what' "

forum non conveniens

/fɔːrəm nɒn kənˈviːnɪənz
/fɔrəm nɔ̃̃ kənˈvinjənz/

Latin for "disagreeable forum". A concept wherein a court refuses to hear a particular matter, citing a more appropriate forum for the issue to be decided.

fructus industriales

/frʌktjʊs ɪnˈdʌstrɪəˌlz/
/frʌktʃus ɪnˈdʌstriəlz/

Latin for "industrial fruits". Emblements; in property law, a co-owner profiting from her or his fructus industriales is solely responsible for any losses that may occur. 

fructus naturales

/frʌktjʊs nætʃrəl/
/frʌktʃus nætʃərəl/

Latin for "natural fruits". Vegetation naturally grows from old roots (as pasturage) or trees (as timber or fruit).

fumus boni iuris

/fjuːmjʊs bəʊnɪ ʊərɪ/
/fjuməs bounɪ ʊris/

Latin for "smoke of a good right". Refers to having a sufficient legal basis to bring legal action.

functus officio

/fʌŋktə əˈfɪʃɪəʊ/ /fʌŋkʃɛs əˈfɪʃiˌou/

Latin for "having performed his office". A person, court, statute, or legal document that has no legal authority, because its original legal purpose has been fulfilled.

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