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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Inventors Assistance Center (formerly Patent Assistance Center).
Intellectual Asset Management. A methodology or defined process for protecting and maintaining, or growing the value of a specified body of intellectual properties within an organization.
International Bureau - the secretariat of the WIPO which, among other functions, centralizes information of various kinds relating to the protection of intellectual property.
International Class - class(es) assigned to a mark under the International Classification of Goods and Services (Nice Agreement); used in the United States since 1 September 1973.
The International Chamber of Commerce is an organization that advocates international trade and responsible business conduct. It promotes "a global approach to regulation to accelerate inclusive and sustainable growth to the benefit of all."
The International Centre for Dispute Resolution is the international division of the American Arbitration Association and provides dispute resolution services to businesses.
Initial Data Capture.
Initial Data Capture (IDC) is the first phase of the publication process for a patent where the patent file is electronically captured. It takes approximately 6 weeks from the date that the allowed file is received for the completion of the Initial Data Capture of the application. The application is then sent to the File Maintenance Facility (FMF) for matching of the issue fee and any other correspondence. The application may stay in the FMF for approximately 1-2 weeks. However, if all requirements are not yet fulfilled the application will remain at the FMF until the requirements are met. Once all files are matched, the application will move to the FDC.
Integrated Development Environment.
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers - This is the world's largest technical professional organization covering engineering, computing, and technology information. Its goal is to promote innovation in these fields and it has developed a portfolio of around 1,300 standards and projects to facilitate global interoperability of technologies. Find out more
Image File Wrapper -- an electronic version of a patent application, including image and/or text versions of the bibliographic information, all papers as filed, and all office actions and correspondence related to that application.
Inspector General - 57 statutory OIGs were created by an act of Congress in 1978 to independently detect fraud or instances of waste, abuse or misuse of federal funds and identify operational deficiencies within each of the Departments.
Internationally agreed Numbers for the Identification of (bibliographic) Data. An INID code refers to the numbers that appear in brackets on the front page of a patent, for example (54) refers to the title of a patent. The numbers enable identification of the various bibliographic elements of a patent, even if the front page is not in Latin script.
International Patent Documentation - this refers to a publicly accessible database that is maintained by the EPO and is one system used for identifying patent families.
International Trademark Association.
The five offices known as the IP5 are: the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), European Patent Office (EPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO), China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Intellectual Property Assets. Refers to a body of intellectual properties within an organization, including copyright, geographical indications, industrial designs, patents, and trade secrets, that have been identified as holding value to the business.
Intellectual Property Appellate Board. Headquartered in Chennai, the IPAB has the authority to examine issues relating to the revocation of patents in India and the validity of registered trademarks.
International Patent Classification - established by the Strasbourg Agreement 1971, this represents a series of identification codes that allow patent offices to classify patents and utility models into specifically defined technology areas.
International Preliminary Examining Authority - either a national Office or an intergovernmental organization whose tasks include the establishment of examination reports on inventions which are the subject of international applications.
Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. In the UK, this specialist court is geared towards rapid decisions in IP litigation cases, used primarily by small and medium-sized businesses. It can award up to £500,000 in damages or lost profits. It is part of the Business and Property Court of the High Court of Justice.
International Preliminary Examination Report (Form PCT/IPEA/409), produced by an International Preliminary Examining Authority, is a preliminary and non-binding opinion on whether the invention claimed in an international application appears to be novel, to involve an inventive step (to be non-obvious), and to be industrially applicable.
Intellectual Property Owners Association.
The Intellectual Property Office in the UK
Intellectual Property Rights.
IPR (Intellectual Property Rights)
A term that includes trade secrets, utility models, patents, trade marks, geographical indications, industrial designs, layout designs of integrated circuits, copyright and related rights, and new varieties of plants.
IPR (Inter partes review)
In the US, this refers to a procedure carried out through the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and can be used by a third-party to challenge the patentability of one or more claims in a US patent.
It becomes available only after the period for a challenge via a post grant review (PGR) has passed and is more limited in scope.
International Preliminary Report on Patentability
Investment Review Board.
International Search Authority - either a national Office or an intergovernmental organization whose tasks include the establishment of documentary search reports on prior art with respect to inventions which are the subject of international applications.
International Search Report (Form PCT/ISA/210), produced by an International Searching Authority, is a report listing citations of published documents that might affect the patentability of the invention claimed in an international application.
(United States) International Trade Commission.
Intent to Use.
Identification of Goods And/Or Services
A written statement of the goods and/or services included in an application. Every application must include an identification of goods and/or services. If you fail to list any recognizable goods or services, the USPTO will return the application and refund the fee. When specifying the goods and/or services, applicants should use clear, concise terms, i.e., common commercial names and language that the general public easily understands.
Please note that the terms in the class headings or short titles of the classes in the "International Classification of Classes of Goods and Services" are generally too broad and should not be used alone as an identification. Also, an international class number alone is never an acceptable listing.
According to article 2 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992): “In-situ conditions” means “conditions where genetic resources exist within ecosystems and natural habitats, and, in the case of domesticated or cultivated species, in the surroundings where they have developed their distinctive properties.”
A claim that does not refer back to or depend on another claim. As the EPO describes: "All applications will contain one or more "independent" claims directed to the essential features of the invention." An independent claim therefore, comprises the broadest definition of an invention and is a standalone statement. It may be limited in scope by dependent claims.
Indigenous knowledge is knowledge held and used by communities, peoples and nations that are “indigenous”. In this sense, “indigenous knowledge” would be the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples. Indigenous knowledge is, therefore, a part of the traditional knowledge category, but traditional knowledge is not necessarily indigenous. Yet the term is also used to refer to knowledge that is itself “indigenous”. In this sense, the terms “traditional knowledge” and “indigenous knowledge” may be interchangeable.
The term “indigenous peoples” has been the subject of considerable discussion and study and there is no universal, standard definition thereof. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) acknowledges the equal human rights of indigenous peoples against cultural discrimination and seeks to promote mutual respect and harmonious relations between the indigenous peoples and States. However, it does not provide a definition of “indigenous peoples”
Indigenous and Local Communities
The term “indigenous and local communities” has been the subject of considerable discussion and study and there is no universal, standard definition thereof. The term is used in the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992). Article 8(j) states that “[e]each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate: … (j) Subject to its national legislation, respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovations and practices; …”. The same term is used in 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).
A design process used for products that will be manufactured via mass production methods.
An application that has been filed without one or more of the elements required to receive a filing date. The USPTO will return informal applications to applicants.
Information Disclosure Statement (IDS)
A list of all patents, publications, U.S. applications, or other information submitted for consideration by the Office in a non-provisional patent application filed under 35 U.S.C. §111(a) to comply with applicant's duty to submit to the Office information which is material to patentability of the invention claimed in the non-provisional application.
For patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. §111(a), applicants and other individuals who are substantially involved in preparing or prosecuting a patent application must submit to the Office information which is material to patentability (could render a claim unpatentable) as defined in 37 CFR Section 1.56. The provisions of 37 CFR Section 1.97 and 37 CFR Section 1.98 provide a mechanism for compliance with the duty of disclosure provided in 37 CFR Section 1.56.
The IDS must include a list of all patents, publications, U.S. applications, or other information submitted for consideration by the Office. The USPTO provides forms for use in the submission of an IDS, the PTO/SB/08a and PTO/SB/08b.
An infringement is an act that interferes with one of the exclusive rights of an intellectual property right owner. Specifically, in the field of copyright and related rights, infringement is an act carried out in respect of a work protected by copyright or an object of related rights without authorization of the owner of the copyright or related rights concerned where such authorization is required. The liability for infringement may exist not only on the basis of direct liability (for the performance of the unauthorized act in itself), but also on the basis of “contributory liability” or “vicarious liability.”
Intangible Cultural Heritage
“Intangible” refers to something that lacks a physical form. “Tangible” on the other hand is defined as “having or possessing physical form; capable of being touched and seen; perceptible to the touch.”. “Intangible cultural heritage” is defined in the United Nations Education, Science And Culture Organization (UNESCO) Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003) as “the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity
The right of integrity is the right to prevent unauthorized alterations and changes to works. After the 1949 Brussels Revision of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1971), the prohibition of other derogatory actions in relation to the said work which would be prejudicial to the author’s honor or reputation was added (Article 6bis).
Intellectual Property Guidelines for Access and Benefit-sharing
From its first session, the IGC supported a task which would lead to the development by WIPO of Intellectual Property Guidelines for Access and Benefit-sharing. It was proposed that the Guidelines be based on a systematic survey of actual and model contractual agreements in the form of the WIPO Database of Biodiversity-related Access and Benefit-sharing Agreements.A first draft was prepared taking into account the operational principles identified by the IGC for the development of such Guidelines.80 This draft was later updated for purposes of the seventeenth session of the IGC.
Inter Partes Reexamination
Inter partes reexamination practice primarily differs from ex parte practice in that the third party requester may file written comments addressing issues raised by the patent owner in a response to Office action.
A proceeding, conducted before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (Board), to determine priority of invention between a pending application and one or more pending applications and/or one or more unexpired patents.
1. An application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. 2. Allows a trademark owner to seek registration in any of the countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol by filing a single application.
International Patent Classification
The International Patent Classification (IPC) is “a hierarchical system in which the whole area of technology is divided into a range of sections, classes, subclasses and groups. The Classification is a language independent tool indispensable for the retrieval of patent documents in the search for ‘prior art’.” The IPC was established by the Strasbourg Agreement Concerning the International Patent Classification (1971). Article 2(1)(a) provides that “[t]he Classification comprises: (i) the text which was established pursuant to the provisions of the European Convention on the International Classification of Patents for Invention of December 19, 1954 (hereinafter designated as the “European Convention”), and which came into force and was published by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on September 1, 1968; (ii) the amendments which have entered into force pursuant to Article 2(2) of the European Convention prior to the entry into force of this Agreement; (iii) the amendments made thereafter in accordance with Article 5 which enter into force pursuant to the provisions of Article 6.”
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (the ITPGRFA) was adopted by the Thirty-First Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on November 3, 2001, and entered into force in 2004. The Treaty aims at: (1) recognizing the enormous contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world; (2) establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials; and (3) ensuring that recipients share benefits they derive from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they have been originated.
Any art or process (way of doing or making things), machine, manufacture, design, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, or any variety of plant, which is or may be patentable under the patent laws of the United States.
Inventive step (also referred to as “non-obviousness”) is one of the criteria of patentability and relates to the question of whether the invention would have been obvious to a person skilled in the art. According to article 33 of the PCT, a claimed invention shall be considered to involve an inventive step “if, having regard to the prior art as defined in the Regulations, it is not, at the prescribed relevant date, obvious to a person skilled in the art.” Article 56 of the European Patent Convention and Section 35 U.S.C. §103 provide for similar definitions. Section 35 U.S.C. §103 uses the equivalent term “non-obvious subject matter.”
One who contributes to the conception of an invention. The patent law of the United States of America requires that the applicant in a patent application must be the inventor.
The date that a patent application becomes a US patent.
The issue date is the date that patent rights can be exercised. U.S. patents are always issued on Tuesdays.
Latin for "Let it be printed". An authorization for a document to be printed. Used in the context of approval by a religious body or other censoring authority.
/ɪn æbˈsɛntɪə/ /ɪn æbˈsenʃə/
Latin for "in absence". A legal proceeding conducted without the presence of one party is said to be conducted in absentia, e.g., trial in absentia or being sentenced in absentia.
in articulo mortis
/ɪn ɑːˈtɪkjʊləʊ mɔːtɪs/
/ɪn ɑrˈtɪkjuloʊ mɔrtɪs/
Latin for "at the moment of death". Often used in probate law, as well as for testimony in the sense of a dying declaration.
/ɪn kæmərə/ /ɪn kæmrə/
Latin for "in the chamber". Conducted in private, or in secret. The opposite of in open court.
/ɪn ˈkæʒjʊ/ /ɪn kæʒu/
Latin for "in the case". In the instant case; used when referring to the matter before the court in a case being discussed
/ɪn kjʊərɪə/ /ɪn kjʊriə/
Latin for "in court". Conducted in open court. The opposite of in camera.
/ɪn ɛsɪ/ /ɪn ɛseɪ/
Latin for "in existence". Actually existing in reality. Opposite of in posse.
Latin for "in the extended''. In expanded form, or at full length. Often used to refer to publication of documents, where it means the full unabridged document is published.
/ɪn ɪkˈstriːmɪs/ /ɪn ɪkˈstrimɪs/
Latin for "in the extreme". In extreme circumstances. Often used to refer to "at the point of death."
in flagrante delicto
/ɪn fləˈɡræntɪ dɪˈlɪktəʊ/
/ɪn fləˈɡrænti dɪˈlɪktou/
Latin for "in blazing offense". Caught in the actual act of committing a crime. Often used as a euphemism for a couple caught in the act of sexual intercourse, though it technically refers to being "caught in the act" of any misdeed.
in forma pauperis
/ɪn fɔːmə pɔpərɪs/ /ɪn fɔrməˈpɔpərɪs/
Latin for "in the manner of a pauper". Someone unable to afford the costs associated with a legal proceeding. As this will not be a barrier to seeking justice, such persons are given in forma pauperis status (usually abbreviated IFP), wherein most costs are waived or substantially reduced.
/ɪn fjuːtʃəeu/ /ɪn fjuˈturou/
Latin for "in the future". Refers to things to come, or things that may occur later but are not so now. As in in futuro debts, i.e. debts which become due and payable in the future.
in haec verba
/ɪn hɛkˈs vɜːbə/
/ɪn hɛkˈs vɜrbə/
Latin for "in these words". Used when including text in a complaint verbatim, where its appearance in that form is germane to the case, or is required to be included.
/ɪn limɪne/ /ɪn lɪməni/
Latin for "at the threshold". A motion to a judge in a case that is heard and considered outside the presence of the jury.
in loco parentis
/ɪn ləʊkəʊ pəˈrɛntɪs/
/ɪn loukou pəˈrentɪs/
Latin for "in the place of a parent". Used to refer to a person or entity assuming the normal parental responsibilities for a minor. This can be used in transfers of legal guardianship, or in the case of schools or other institutions that act in the place of the parents on a day-to-day basis.
/ɪn mɪtɪəs/ /ɪn mɪtɪəs/
Latin for "in the milder". A type of retroactive law that decriminalizes offenses committed in the past. Also known as an amnesty law.
/ɪn ˈɒmnɪˌbʌs/ /ɪn ɑmnɪbəs/
Latin for "in all". Used to mean "in every respect." Something applying to every aspect of a situation.
in pari delicto
/ɪn pærɪ dɪˈlɪktəʊ/ /ɪn pærai dɪˈlɪktou/
Latin for "in equal offense". Used when both parties to a case are equally at fault.
in pari materia
/ɪn pærɪ mætɪˈərɪə/
/ɪn pærɪ mætəˈriə/
Latin for "in the same matter". Refers to a situation where a law or statute may be ambiguous, and similar laws applying to the matter are used to interpret the vague one.
/ɪn pɜːˈsəʊnæm/ /ɪn pərˈsoʊnəm/
Latin for "in person". Used in the context of "directed at this particular person", refers to a judgement or subpoena directed at a specific named individual. Cf. in rem.
/ɪn pliːnəʊ/ /ɪn plinoʊ/
Latin for "in full".
in propria persona
/ɪn prəʊprɪə pɜːˈsəʊnə/
/ɪn proʊpriə pərˈsoʊnə/
Latin for "in one's own proper person". Alternate form of in propria persona. One who represents themselves in court without the [official] assistance of an attorney.
/ɪn reɪ/ /ɪn ri/
Latin for "in the matter [of]". Used in the title of a decision or comment to identify the matter they are related to; usually used for a case where the proceeding is in rem or quasi in rem and not in personam (e.g. probate or bankrupt estate, guardianship, application for laying out a public highway) and occasionally for an ex parte proceeding (e.g. application for a writ of habeas corpus).
/ɪn rem/ /ɪn rem/
Latin for "about a thing". Used in the context of a case against property, as opposed to a particular person.
/ɪn sɪtju/ /ɪn sɪtu/
Latin for "in position". Often used in the context of decisions or rulings about a property or thing "left in place" after the case as it was before.
/ɪn sɒlɪdəm/ /ɪn sɑlɪdəm/
Latin for "for the whole". Jointly and severally; short for singuli et in solidum. Where a group of persons share liability for a debt, such as co-signers to a loan, the debtor can sue a single party in solidum, that is jointly and severally, to recover the entire amount owed.
/ɪn tɛrəʊrem/ /ɪn teˈrɔrem/
Latin for "in order to frighten". A warning or threat to sue, made in the hopes of convincing the other party to take action to avoid a lawsuit.
in terrorem clause
/ɪn tɛrəʊrem klɔːz/
/ɪn teˈrɔrem klɔz/
Latin for "clause "in order to frighten"". A clause in a will that threatens any party who contests the will with being disinherited. Also called a no-contest clause.
/ɪn təʊtəʊ/ /ɪn toʊtoʊ/
Latin for "in total".
Latin for "incapable". (Scots law) a person not having capacity (mental, legal, or otherwise).
Latin for "indications". Often used in copyright notices. Refers to distinctive markings that identify a piece of intellectual property.
Latin for "unworthy heir". Unworthy beneficiary or heir, who is precluded from inheriting because his conduct makes him unworthy, in a legal sense, to take in the deceased's estate.
Latin for "infant". (Roman-Dutch law) child of 7 years or younger and who therefore has very limited legal capacity. Plural infantes.
Latin for "below or under".
iniuria sine damno
/ɪˈnjʊərɪə saɪnɪ dæməʊ/
/ɛˈnʊriə saɪn dæmoʊ/
Latin for "injury without financial or property loss". It was stated in Ashby v. White that the law makes a presumption of damage in the absence of actual perceptible damage or financial loss and that the infringement of a right was enough for iniuria sine damno to be actionable.
Latin for "by nodding". An intimation about someone or something, made indirectly or vaguely suggesting the thing being implied. Often used when the implied thing is negative or derogatory.
/ɪntər ˈeɪlɪə/ /ɪntər ˈeiliə/
Latin for "among others". Used to indicate an item cited has been pulled from a larger or more complete list.
/ɪntə rʌstɪkeʊs/ /ɪntər rʌstɪkoʊs/
Latin for "among rustics". Refers to contract, debts, or other agreements made between parties who are not legal professionals.
/ɪntə ˈseɪ/ /ɪntər ˈsi/
Latin for "amongst themselves". Refers to obligations between members of the same group or party, differentiated from the whole party's obligations to another party.
/ɪntə ˈviːvɒs/ /ˌɪntər ˈvaɪˌvoʊs/
Latin for "between the living". Refers to a gift or other non-sale transfer between living parties. This is in contrast to a will, where the transfer takes effect upon one party's death.
Latin for "within".
intra fauces terrae
/ɪntrə fɔːsiːz tɛrə/ /ɪntrə fɔˌsiz tɛrə/
Latin for "within the jaws of the land". This term refers to a nation's territorial waters.
/ɪntrə lɪˈdʒɛm/ /ɪntrə lɪˈdʒem/
Latin for "within the law". Used in various contexts to refer to the legal foundation for a thing.
/ɪntrə vaɪriːz/ /ɪntrə vaɪˌriz/
Latin for "within the powers". Something done which requires legal authority, and the act is performed accordingly. Cf. ultra vires.
/ɪn ɑːˈɡeɪnjəʊ/ /ɪn ɑːrˈɡeinjou/
Latin for "for the sake of argument".
/ɪpseɪ ˈdɪksɪt/ /ɪpsiˈdɪksɪt/
Latin for "He himself said it". An assertion given undue weight solely by virtue of the person making the assertion.
/ɪpˈsɪsɪmə ˈvɜːbə/ /ɪpˈsɪsɪmə ˈvɜrbə/
Latin for "the very words". Referring to a document or ruling that is being quoted by another.
/ɪpsəʊ ˈfæktəʊ/ /ɪpsou ˈfæktou/
Latin for "by the fact itself". Used in the context that one event is a direct and immediate consequence of another. "In and of itself."
/ɪpsəʊ ˈjʊərɪ/ /ɪpsoʊ ˈdʒʊri/
Latin for "the law itself". By operation of law.
iudex a quo
/ɪudɛks ɑː ˈkwəʊ/ /ɪuˌdɛks ei ˈkwou/
Lower court from which an appeal originates; originating court (vs. iudex ad quem)
iudex ad quem
/ɪudɛks æd ˈkwem/ /ɪuˌdɛks æd ˈkwem/
Appellate court or court of last resort (vs. iudex a quo)
/ɪəs akrɪˈʃɛndɪ/ /ɪəs krɪˈʃɛnˌdi/
Latin for "right of accrual". (Civil law) Accretion, i.e. right of a will beneficiary to succeed proportionately to a testamentary gift that another beneficiary in the same will cannot or does not want to take.
/ɪəs kəˈmjuːn/ /ɪəs kɑmˌjun/
Latin for "common law". Not actually referring to common law; this term refers to common doctrine and principles of civil law that underlie all aspects of civilian legal systems and that formed the basis of medieval Roman law.
/ɪəs pɜːsɪˌkjɛndi/ /ɪəs ˈpɜrsəˌkjɛndi/
Latin for "right of following". Right of pursuit, i.e. the creditor's right to pursue a debt that runs with the land into the hands of a bona fide purchaser
/ɪəs prɛfəˈrɛndi/ /ɪəs prɛfəˈrɛndi/
Latin for "right of preferring". Priority right or preferential right, i.e. a creditor's right to rank higher relative to another
ius quaesitum tertio
/ɪəs kwiːˈsiːtəm tɜːʃəʊ/
/ɪəs kwɛstəm tɜrʃəoʊ/
Latin for "right to third-party relief". Right of a third-party beneficiary to sue in order to enforce a third-party contract, i.e. the opposite of privity of contract.
/ɪəs rɪˈtɛnʃənɪs/ /ɪəs rɪˈtɛnʃənis/
Latin for "right of retaining". Lien (possessory)