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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.


Patent Assistance Center (prior), now the Inventors Assistance Center or IAC, call (toll-free) 1-800-786-9199 or 703-308-4357.


Patent Application Information Retrieval.
Provides secure access for customers who want to view current patent application status electronically via the Internet.


Patent Application Locating and Monitoring system - an internal USPTO system that is the source of status information displayed in PAIR.


Patent Application Specification Authoring Tool -- no longer used as of 22 August 2004.


Patent Business Goals

PBG Final Rule

Patent Business Goals Final Rule - implement streamlined patent practice; a result of the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999.


Private Branch Exchange - a telephony term describing a private telephone network used within an enterprise. Users of the PBX share a certain number of outside lines for making external telephone calls.


Patent Cooperation Treaty.
Provides a mechanism by which an applicant can file a single application that, when certain requirements have been fulfilled, is equivalent to a regular national filing in each designated Contracting State. There are currently over 112 PCT Contracting States.

PCT Regulations

Provide rules concerning matters expressly referred to in the Patent Cooperation Treaty, any administrative requirements, matters, or procedures, and concerning any details useful in the implementation of the provisions of the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The rules must be adopted by the Assembly of WIPO.


Patent Enterprise Access Integration.

PG Pub

Pre-Grant Publication of patent application at 18 months from priority date.


Post grant review. Established as part of the America Invents Act (AIA), a third party may challenge a US patent within nine months of issuance, if it has been issued under first-inventor-to-file (FITF).
It differs from an inter partes review (IPR) as the scope of what can be challenged is wider. It can include subject matter ineligibility, anticipation and obviousness, indefiniteness, lack of enablement, or failure to meet the written description requirement. An inter partes review, on the other hand, is limited to anticipation and obviousness.
As notes from the Congressional Record from the debate on the 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."


Person having ordinary skill in the art.


Patent Law Treaty.


Power of Attorney - formal assignment to another of the right to legally act on your behalf.


Patent Cooperation Treaty Operations Imaging System.


Patent Cooperation Treaty Operations Workflow and Electronic Review.


Patent Public Advisory Committee.


Patent Prosecution Highway. As part of the international PCT application process, this refers to a work sharing initiative between participating patent authorities. It can enable faster processing during the national phase of examination, where patent examiners can make use of the work from the other office or offices.


Performance Reference Model - a standardized framework to measure the performance of major IT investments and their contribution to program performance.


Publication Site for Issued and Published Sequences.


Patent Term Adjustment.


Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Part of the USPTO, this body decides issues of patentability. It conducts trials and hears appeals against examiner decisions in patent applications and re-examination proceedings.


Patent and Trademark Depository Library.


Patent Term Extension.


Patent and Trademark Office.


A type of form designation such as Form PTOL, meaning a Patent and Trademark Office Legal form.


Patent and Trademark Office Society.


Performance and Accountability Report.

Parent Application

The term "parent" is applied to an earlier application of the inventor disclosing a given invention.

Passing Off

A type of infringement where a business, its goods or services are misrepresented by the infringer.
The principle of passing off is that "A man is not to sell his own goods under the pretence that they are the goods of another man" (Perry v Truefitt, 1842).


A patent is defined as “a document which describes an invention which can be manufactured, used, and sold with the authorization of the owner of the patent. An invention is a solution to a specific technical problem. A patent document normally contains at least one claim, the full text of the description of the invention, and bibliographic information such as the applicant’s name. The protection given by a patent is limited in time (generally 15 to 20 years from filing or grant). It is also limited territorially to the country or countries concerned. A patent is an agreement between an inventor and a country. The agreement permits the owner to exclude others from making, using or selling the claimed invention.”
Article 27(1) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS Agreement) states that “[…] patents shall be available for any inventions, whether products or processes, in all fields of technology, provided that they are new, involve an inventive step and are capable of industrial application. […] patents shall be available and patent rights enjoyable without discrimination as to the place of invention, the field of technology and whether products are imported or locally produced.”


A legal right conferred by a government, or a governing body, to a patent owner that prohibits, for a limited time, all others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling a specified invention for commercial purposes without the prior consent of the owner.

Patent Agent

May be referred to as a practitioner or representative - one who is not an attorney but is authorized to act for or in place of the applicant(s) before the Office, that is, an individual who is registered to practice before the Office.

Patent Application

An application for patent filed under 35 U.S.C. §111(a) that includes all types of patent applications (i.e., utility, design, plant, and reissue) except provisional applications. The nonprovisional application establishes the filing date and initiates the examination process. A nonprovisional utility patent application must include a specification, including a claim or claims; drawings, when necessary; an oath or declaration; and the prescribed filing fee.

Patent Application Number

The unique number assigned to a patent application when it is filed. The application number includes a two digit series code and a six digit serial number.

Patent Application Publication

Pre-Grant Publication of patent application at 18 months from priority date.

Patent Cliff

A severe drop in revenue once the patent for a company’s leading product expires. The sharp revenue decline is a result of competitors being able to start developing and selling the product, often at a much lower price.

Patent Family

A patent family refers to a patent that has been filed in several jurisdictions in order to protect a single invention in multiple countries. The original document filed is known as the priority document, and it is then extended to other patent offices. This then becomes the patent family.

Patent Fence

A series of patents issued with a view to block any innovators linked to an initial patent (usually a competitor) from further developing any innovation or applying for further follow-on patents around the initial one.

Patent Holdout

Patent “hold-out” is the practice of companies routinely ignoring patents and resisting patent owner demands because the odds of getting caught are small.

Patent Holdup

Patent holdup occurs when a patent holder makes an intentionally false promise to license essential proprietary technology on FRAND terms, a standard setting organization relies on that promise in incorporating the patented technology into a standard, and the patent holder subsequently breaches that promise and demands higher license fees than promised.
Patent “hold-up” occurs when a patent owner sues a company when it is most vulnerable after it has implemented a technology and is able to wrest a settlement because it is too late for the company to change course.

Patent Infringement

Unauthorized making, using, offering to sell, selling or importing into the United States any patented invention.

Patent Number

Unique number assigned to a patent application when it issues a patent.

Patent Pending

A phrase that often appears on manufactured items. It means that someone has applied for a patent on an invention that is contained in the manufactured item. It serves as a warning that a patent may issue that would cover the item and that copiers should be careful because they might infringe if the patent issues. Once the patent issues, the patent owner will stop using the phrase "patent pending" and start using a phrase such as "covered by U.S. Patent Number XXXXXXX." Applying the patent pending phrase to an item when no patent application has been made can result in a fine.

Patent Pool

An agreement under which one or more patent owners license their patented technology either to each other, or to third parties. It is often used for technologies that consist of multiple complementary aspects and in situations where all parties mutually benefit from sharing the constituent technologies involved.

Patent Prosecution

This refers to the process of negotiating with a patent office during the application stages of obtaining a patent, and subsequent interactions or communications with the patent office following its grant.

Patent Thicket

The most generally used definition that is put forward by IP expert Carl Shapiro: "A dense web of overlapping intellectual property rights that a company must hack its way through in order to actually commercialize new technology." It applies to areas of technology where it is difficult to enter with an invention due to excessive patenting activity.

Patent and Trademark Depository Library

A library designated by the USPTO to receive copies of patents, CD-ROMs containing registered and pending marks, and patent and trademark materials that are made available to the public for free. The libraries also actively disseminate patent and trademark information and offer internet access to USPTO's online collections.

Patent and Trademark Office

The federal agency which examines and issues patents and registers trademarks.


For an invention to be patentable, it must be novel, involve an inventive step and be capable of industrial application. It should not involve any subject matter that is specifically excluded, such as a mathematical model or biological process. Any public facing information could hinder plans to patent a particular item. This means that patentability searches will include websites, scientific journals, industry publications, and general media, as well as taking into account patents.


Suitable to be patented; entitled by law to be protected by the issuance of a patent.


To “perform” a work means to recite, render, play, dance, or act it, either directly or by means of any device or process or, in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to show its images in any sequence or to make the sounds accompanying it audible.

Performing Rights Society

An association, corporation, or other entity that licenses the public performance of nondramatic musical works on behalf of copyright owners of such works, such as the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), and SESAC, Inc.


For purposes of small entity determination per MPEP 509.02, a person is defined as any inventor or other individual (e.g., an individual to whom an inventor has transferred some rights in the invention), who has not assigned, granted conveyed, or licensed, and is under no obligation under contract or law to assign, grant, convey, or license any rights in the invention.

Petition to Revive an Application (Trademark Matters)

A formal request for the USPTO to return an abandoned application to active status. These petitions are handled by the Office of the Commissioner for Trademarks, and must be received in the USPTO within two (2) months from the issue date of the notice of abandonment. The standard used for deciding a petition to revive is unintentional delay, that is, whether the applicant's delay in responding to an Office action or Notice of Allowance was unintentional.

Plant Application (Patent)

Are applications to protect invented or discovered, asexually reproduced plant varieties.

Plant Patent

May be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.


A pledged patent is one that has been used as a form of collateral for securing a business loan.

Positive Protection

Two aspects of positive protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions by intellectual property rights are explored, one concerned with preventing unauthorized use and the other concerned with active exploitation of the traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions by the originating community itself. Besides, the use of non-intellectual property approaches for the positive protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions can be complementary and used in conjunction with intellectual property protection. For instance, positive protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions may prevent others from gaining illegitimate access to traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions or using them for commercial gain without equitably sharing the benefits, but it may also be used by traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions holders to build up their own enterprises based on their traditional knowledge and traditional

Postcard Receipt

A self-addressed, stamped postcard with an itemized list of parts of patent application and number of pages per MPEP 503; used as a receipt for what was submitted in an application.


One who stands for or acts on behalf of another. A patent attorney or patent agent may represent the inventors named in a patent application.

Precautionary Designation

Designation of a Contracting State in an international application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty which must be confirmed prior to 15 months from the priority date.

Preliminary Action

The act of initiating an informal action against a possible infringer of the copyright, such as a letter informing the person or business of their infringement.


Preservation has two broad elements – first, the preservation of the living cultural and social context of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions, so that the customary framework for developing, passing on and governing access to traditional knowledge or cultural expressions is maintained; and second, the preservation of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions in a fixed form, such as when they are documented. Preservation may have the goal of assisting the survival of the traditional knowledge or cultural expressions for future generations of the original community and ensuring their continuity within an essentially traditional or customary framework, or the goal of making them available to a wider public (including scholars and researchers), in recognition of their importance as part of the collective cultural heritage of humanity.

Primary Examiner

A patent examiner who is fully authorized to sign office actions (signatory authority) regarding patentability.


A former feature of the USPTO's electronic filing system that allowed applicants to complete a trademark application on-line, and then print it out for mailing to the USPTO.

Principal Register

Primary trademark register of the USPTO. When a mark has been registered on the Principal Register, the mark is entitled to all the rights provided by the Trademark Act. The advantages of owning a registration on the Principal Register include the following:
Constructive notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark (15 U.S.C. §1072);
A legal presumption of the registrant's ownership of the mark and the registrant's exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the registration (15 U.S.C. §1057(b) and §1115(a);
A date of constructive use of the mark as of the filing date of the application (15 U.S.C. §1057(c); TMEP Section 201.02);
The ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court (15 U.S.C. §1121);
The ability to file the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods (15 U.S.C. §1124);
The registrant's exclusive right to use a mark in commerce on or in connection with the goods or services covered by the registration can become "incontestable," subject to certain statutory defenses (15 U.S.C. §1065 and §1115(b)); and
The use of the U.S. registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries.

Prior Art

Prior art is, in general, all the knowledge that existed prior to the relevant filing or priority date of a patent application, whether it existed by way of written and oral disclosure. In some legal instruments there is a differentiation between printed publications, oral disclosures and prior use and where the publications or disclosure occurred.
For the purposes of the PCT, prior art is defined by Rule 33.1 of the PCT Regulations as “everything which has been made available to the public anywhere in the world by means of written disclosure (including drawings and other illustrations) and which is capable of being of assistance in determining that the claimed invention is or is not new and that it does or does not involve an inventive step (i.e. that it is or is not obvious), provided that the making available to the public occurred prior to the international filing date.”

Prior Informed Consent

A right or principle of “prior informed consent” (PIC) or sometimes “free, prior and informed consent” (FPIC) is referred to or implied in several international instruments, particularly in the environmental field, such as Article 6(4) of the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes, 1989, and the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992).
In respect to access to genetic resources, the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) states in Article 15(5) that it “shall be subject to prior informed consent of the Contracting Party providing such resources, unless otherwise determined by that Party.”

Prior User Right

If a party can prove it was already using an invention before the same invention is patented by another, then it can continue use of the invention without the need for licensing.

Priority Action

A letter in which an examining attorney sets forth specific requirements that the applicant must meet before an application can be approved for publication. An examining attorney will issue a priority action after consulting with an applicant or the applicant's attorney. Unlike an examiner's amendment, the priority action does not confirm resolution of the issues; instead, it explains the requirements still outstanding.
The applicant must respond to a priority action within 6 months from the date the priority action is mailed. If the applicant fails to do so, the application will be abandoned. Please note that examining attorneys have no discretion to extend the time for filing a response to an Office action.
The benefit of a priority action is that, if the applicant responds within 2 months, the application will be given priority in processing the response.

Priority Claim

Claims under 35 U.S.C. §119(a)-(e) and 35 U.S.C. §120 for the benefit of the filing date of earlier filed applications.

Priority Date

A priority date is achieved when you are the first to file a specific innovation within a country. The filing date is considered the “priority date”. Once filed you are entitled to claim priority for a period of twelve months. Therefore, when you apply for protection in other member countries during those twelve months, the filing date of your first application is considered to have “priority” over other applications filed after that date.


/prɒkjʊˌreɪtə/ /prɑkjuˌreɪtər/

Agent, attorney-in-fact.


For purposes of section 513, an individual, corporation, partnership, or other entity, as the case may be, that owns an establishment or a food service or drinking establishment, except that no owner or operator of a radio or television station licensed by the Federal Communications Commission, cable system or satellite carrier, cable or satellite carrier service or programmer, provider of online services or network access or the operator of facilities therefore, telecommunications company, or any other such audio or audiovisual service or programmer now known or as may be developed in the future, commercial subscription music service, or owner or operator of any other transmission service, shall under any circumstances be deemed to be a proprietor.


“Protection” in the work of the IGC has tended to refer to protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions against some form of unauthorized use by third parties. Two forms of protection have been developed and applied.


Protocols are legal agreements, codes of conduct, guidelines or sets of manners that explain how people should behave in certain circumstances. They can be used to set community standards around knowledge circulation and use for outsiders as well as help change attitudes and set new standards. Generally, protocols are flexible and can change over time. They may be used as tools to help achieve certain goals that other areas of law have been unable to fulfill. As formal or informal guidelines for behavior, protocols can help build relationships and make new ones possible.

Providers and Recipients of Genetic Resources

Providers and recipients of genetic resources may include the government sector (e.g., government ministries, government agencies (national, regional or local), including those responsible for administration of national parks and government land); commerce or industry (e.g., pharmaceutical, food and agriculture, horticulture, and cosmetics enterprises); research institutions (e.g., universities, gene banks, botanic gardens, microbial collections); custodians of genetic resources and traditional knowledge holders (e.g. associations of healers, indigenous peoples or local communities, peoples’ organizations, traditional farming communities); and others (e.g., private land owner(s), conservation group(s) etc.)

Provisional Patent Application

A provisional application for a patent is a U.S. national application for a patent filed in the USPTO under 35 U.S.C. §111(b). It allows filing without a formal patent claim, oath or declaration, or any information disclosure (prior art) statement. It provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a nonprovisional patent application filed under 35 U.S.C Section 111(a) and automatically becomes abandoned after one year. It also allows the term "Patent Pending" to be applied.

Pseudo Mark

A way of locating a word mark that consists of an alternative or intentionally corrupted spelling of an English word. The pseudo mark search locates spellings that are very similar or phonetically equivalent to the word mark.

Public Domain

In general, a work is considered to be in the public domain if there is no legal restriction for its use by the public. The public domain is the universe of inventions and creative works that are not protected by intellectual-property rights and are therefore available for anyone to use without charge. When copyright, trademark, patent, or trade-secret rights are lost or expire, the intellectual property they had protected becomes part of the public domain and can be appropriated by anyone without liability for infringement.


The distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display, constitutes publication. A public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication.

Publication Date

The date on which a patent application is published and enters the public domain for the first time.

Publication Number

A number assigned to the publication of patent applications filed on or after November 29, 2000. It includes the year, followed by a seven digit number, followed by a kind code. Example 200011234567A1.

Publication for Opposition

If the examining attorney raises no objections to registration, or if the applicant overcomes all objections, the examining attorney will approve the mark for publication in the Official Gazette.
The USPTO will send a Notice of Publication to the applicant stating the date of publication. Any party who believes it may be damaged by registration of the mark has thirty (30) days from the publication date to file either an opposition to registration or a request to extend the time to oppose.
If no opposition is filed or if the opposition is unsuccessful, the application enters the next stage of the registration process. A Certificate of Registration will issue for applications based on use, or on a foreign registration under S44, or a Notice of Allowance will issue for intent-to-use applications.


To perform or display a work “publicly” means —
(1) to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or
(2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to a place specified by clause (1) or to the public, by means of any device or process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times.

Publicly Available

The experts at the Meeting of the Group of Technical and Legal Experts on Traditional Knowledge Associated with Genetic Resources in the Context of the International Regime on Access and Benefit-Sharing discussed the terms “public domain” and “publicly available” with special reference to traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources: “The term public domain, which is used to indicate free availability, has been taken out of context and applied to [traditional knowledge] associated with genetic resources that is publicly available. The common understanding of publicly available does not mean available for free. The common understanding of public availability could mean that there is a condition to impose mutually agreed terms such as paying for access. [Traditional knowledge] has often been deemed to be in the public domain and hence freely available once it has been accessed and removed from its particular cultural context and disseminated. But it cannot be assumed that [traditional knowledge] associated with genetic resources that has been made available publicly does not belong to anyone. Within the concept of public availability, prior informed consent from a [traditional knowledge] holder that is identifiable, could still be required, as well as provisions of benefit-sharing made applicable, including when a change in use is discernible from any earlier prior informed consent provided. When a holder is not identifiable, beneficiaries could still be decided for example by the State.”


/peɪs/ /peɪs/

Latin for "with peace". Used to say 'contrary to the opinion of.' It is a polite way of marking a speaker's disagreement with someone or some body of thought.

pacta sunt servanda

/ˈpæktə sʌnˈtɪ sɜːvəndə/
/pæktə sʊnt sɜrvəndə/

[Latin] Agreements are to be kept; treaties should be observed. Pacta sunt servandais the bedrock of the customary international law of treaties and, according to some authorities, the very foundation of international law. Without such an acceptance, treaties would become worthless.

pactum acquisitivum

/pæktəm əˈkwɪzɪtɪvem/
/pæktəm əˈkwɪzətɪv/

Deed of variation

pactum conservandae successionis

/pæktəm kənˈsɜːvəndɪ səkˈsɛʃənɪs/
/pæktəm kənˈsɜrvəndeɪ səkˈsɛʃənis/

Deed of variation

pactum de contrahendo

/pæktəm dɪ kɒntrəhəndʊ/
/pæktəm də kɑnˌtrehəndu/

Latin for "agreement to contract". Prior contract aimed at concluding another contract, known as the parent or principal contract. Includes binders (in real estate sales), such as a purchase offer or an option to sell.

pactum de hereditate tertii viventis

/pæktəm di hɪˈrɛdɪtət tɜːʃə vaɪvəntis/
/pæktəm də həˈredɪtət tɜrʃəi vaɪˈvɛntis/

Family settlement agreement

pactum de non cedendo

/pæktəm di nɒn cedɛndəʊ/
/pæktəm də nɔ̃̃ cedɑndoʊ/

Latin for "agreement to not yield". Anti-assignment clause

pactum de non petendo (in anticipando)

/pæktəm di nɒn pɛəˈtɛndə/
/pæktəm də nɔ̃̃ piˈtɛndoʊ/

Latin for "agreement to not sue". Agreement in which one party agrees not to sue the other.

pactum de non succedendo

/pæktəm di nɒn səkˈsiːdəndəʊ/
/pæktəm də nɔ̃̃ səkˈsidəndoʊ/

Disclaimer of interest

pactum de retrovendendo

/pæktəm di rɛtrəʊvɛndɛndəʊ/
/pæktəm də rɛtroʊvɛndendou/

Latin for "agreement to sell back". Contract of sale with right of repurchase

pactum renunciativum

/pæktəm rɪˈnʌnsɪɪtivem/
/pæktəm rɪˌnʌnsiˈeɪtivem/

Disclaimer of interest

pactum successorium

/pæktəm səkˈsɛsəriem/
/pæktəm səkˈsesəriem/

Latin for "inheritance agreement". Bilateral contract concerning succession, usually made between a potential testator (future decedent) and his/her heir. Plural pacta successoria.

par delictum

/pɑː dɪˈlɪktem/ /pɑr dɪˈlɪktem/

Latin for "equal fault". Used when both parties to a dispute are at fault.

parens patriae

/pɛərəns pætrɪˌiː/ /pɛrəns pɑtriˌeɪ/

Latin for "parent of the nation". Refers to the power of the State to act as parent to a child when the legal parents are unable or unwilling.

pari passu

/pærɪ ˈpæsu/ /pɑri ˈpɑˌsu/

Latin for "on equal footing". Equal ranking, equal priority (usually referring to creditors).

pars dominii

/pɑːs dɒmɪnɪ/ /pɑrs dɑməni/

Latin for "ownership part". The three major rights in the bundle of rights making up ownership, i.e. usus (aka ius utendi), fructus (aka ius fruendi), and abusus (aka ius abutendi).

partus sequitur ventrem

/pɑːtəs sɛkwɪtə vɛntrem/ or /pɑrtəs sɛkwɪtər vɛntrem/

Latin for "That which is brought forth follows the belly". Legal status of children of slaves


/peɪtəfəˈmɪlɪˌæs/ /peɪtərfəˈmɪliəs/

Latin for "father of the family". The head of household, for purposes of considering the rights and responsibilities thereof. (Civil law) bonus paterfamilias: a standard of care equivalent to the common law ordinary reasonable man.

pendente lite

/pɛnˈdɛntɪ ˈlaɪtɪ/ /penˈdenti ˈlaiti/

Latin for "while the litigation is pending". Court orders used to provide relief until the final judgement is rendered. Commonly used in divorce proceedings.

penitus extraneus

/pɛˈniːtəs ɪkˈstreɪnɪəs/
/pəˈnitəs ɛkˈstreɪniəs/

Latin for "outside penitent". Incidental beneficiary or any outside party to a third-party contract. Plural penitus extranei.

per aversionem

/pɜː əˈvɜːʃənem/ /pɜːr əˈvɜrʒənem/

Latin for "by turning away". (1) description, whereby the surrounding property is used to provide the legal description of the boundaries of the property; (2) sale per aversionem = bulk sale (a flock of sheep for $100 - the number of sheep are uncounted) (vs. ad quantitatum)

per capita

/pɜː ˈkæpɪtə/ /pɜːr kæpɪtə/

Latin for "by head". Dividing money up strictly and equally according to the number of beneficiaries.

per contra

/pɜː kənˈtra/ /pɜːr koʊntrə/

Latin for "by that against". Legal shorthand for "in contrast to".

per curiam

/pɜː kjʊərɪəm/ /pɜːr kjʊriˌæm

Latin for "through the court". A decision delivered by a multi-judge panel, such as an appellate court, in which the decision is said to be authored by the court itself, instead of situations where those individual judges supporting the decision are named.

per incuriam

/pɜː ɪnˈkjʊərɪəm/ /pɜːr ɪnˈkjʊriəm/

Latin for "by their neglect". A judgement given without reference to precedent.

per minas

/pɜː maɪnə/ /pɜːr maɪnə/

Latin for "through threats". Used as a defense, when illegal acts were performed under duress.

per proxima amici

/pɜː prɒksɪmə æmɪki/
/pɜːr prɑːksɪma əˈmaɪkəi/

Latin for "by or through the next friend". Employed when an adult brings suit on behalf of a minor, who was unable to maintain an action on his own behalf at common law.

per quod

/pɜː kwɒd/ /pɜːr kwɑd/

Latin for "by which". Used in legal documents in the same sense as "whereby". A per quod statement is typically used to show that specific acts had consequences which form the basis for the legal action.

per relationem

/pɜː rɪˈleɪʃənem/ /pɜːr rɪˈleɪʃənem/

Latin for "by relation". Hearsay; used for secondhand, indirect evidence, e.g. testimony per relationem ‘hearsay testimony’ (vs. ex propriis sensibus). Also called de auditu.

per se

/pɜː ˈseɪ/ /pɜːr ˈsei/

Latin for "by itself". Something that is, as a matter of law.

per stirpes

/pɜː stɜːpiːz/ /pɜr stɜːrpiz/

Latin for "by branch". An estate of a decedent is distributed per stirpes, if each branch of the family is to receive an equal share of an estate.

periculum in mora

/pəˈrɪkjʊləm ɪn mɔːrə/
/pɜrkjuləm ɪn moʊrə/

Latin for "danger in delay". A condition given to support requests for urgent action, such as a protective order or restraining order.

persona non grata

/pɜːˈsəʊnə nɒn ˈɡrɑːtə/
/pərˈsoʊnə noʊn ˈgrɑtə/

Latin for "unwelcome person". A person who is officially considered unwelcome by a host country in which they are residing in a diplomatic capacity. The person is typically expelled to their home country.


/pɜːˈsəʊni/ /pərˈsouni/

Latin for "[of] person".


/pɪɡnəs/ /pɪɡnəs/

Latin for "pledge". Pledge, i.e. a possessory security interest.

plena probatio, probatio plena

/plɛnə prəˈbeɪʃəʊ/ /plɛnə proʊˈbeɪʃəoʊ/

Latin for "full proof, perfect proof". Executed in presence of 2 witnesses; includes public instruments

pleno iure

/plɛnəʊ jʊəreɪ/ /plɛnoʊ ɪjʊr/

Latin for "by full right". Self-executing, without need of a court order or judicial proceedings; with full right or authority. Ex: null pleno iure.

plus quam tolerabile

/plʌs kwɑm tɒlərəbəl/
/plʌs kwɑːm tɑlərəbiəl/

Latin for "more than tolerable". Excessive, beyond tolerable; in reference to a nuisance or some other violation of neighbor law.

posse comitatus

/pɒsɪ kɒmɪˈtɑːtəs/ /pɑsi ˌkɑmɪˈtɑːtəs/

Latin for "power of the county". A body of armed citizens pressed into service by legal authority, to keep the peace or pursue a fugitive.

post hoc ergo propter hoc

/peʊst ˈhɒk ˈɜːɡəʊ prɒptə hɒk/
/poʊst ˈhɑk ˌɛrgoʊ ˈprɑptər ˌhɑk/

Latin for "after this, therefore because of this". A logical fallacy that suggests that an action causes an effect simply because the action occurred before the effect.

post mortem

/pəʊstˈmɔːtəm/ /poʊstˈmɔrtəm/

Latin for "after death". Refers to an autopsy, or as a qualification as to when some event occurred.

post mortem auctoris

/pəʊstˈmɔːtəm ɔːkˈtɔːrɪs/
/poʊstˈmɔrtəm ɔkˈtɔriəs/

Latin for "after the author's death". Used in reference to intellectual property rights, which usually are based around the author's lifetime.


/pəʊstlɪˈmɪnɪəm/ /poʊstlɪˈmɪniəm/

Latin for "return from the other". Refers to the return of legal standing and property of a person who returns to the jurisdiction of Rome


/prɪːdɪəm/ /preɪdiəm/

Latin for "estate". Landed property, tenement of land, especially with respect to an easement (servitude).

praedium dominans

/prɪˈːdɪəm dɒmɪnəns/
/preɪdiəm dɑmənəns/

Latin for "dominant estate".

praedium serviens

/prɪˈːdɪəm sɜːvɪəns//preɪdiəm sɜrviˈɛnt/

Latin for "servient tenement".


/priɛmpʃəʊ/ /priˈɛmpʃəoʊ/

Latin for "previous purchase". Right of first refusal.


/prɪˈzʌmpʃəʊ/ /priˈzʌmpʃəoʊ

Latin for "presumption". Legal presumption.

praesumptio innocentiae

/prɪˈzʌmpʃəʊ ɪnəsənʃɪə/
/priˈzʌmpʃəoʊ ɪnəsənʃiə/

Latin for "Presumption of innocence".

praesumptio iuris et de iure

/prɪˈzʌmpʃəʊ iʊərɪ ɛt də jʊəreɪ/
/priˈzʌmpʃəoʊ iʊri ɛt də ɪjʊr/

Latin for "irrebuttable or conclusive presumption". praesumptio iuris et de iure

praesumptio iuris tantum

/prɪˈzʌmpʃəʊ iʊərɪ tæntəm/
/priˈzʌmpʃəoʊ iʊri tæntəm/

Latin for "rebuttable presumption". praesumptio iuris tantum

praesumptio veritatis et solemnitatis

/prɪˈzʌmpʃəʊ vɛrɪtətɪz ɛt səˈlɛmnɪtɪtɪz/
/priˈzʌmpʃəoʊ vɛrɪtətɪz ɛt sɑləmˌnɪtətɪz/

Latin for "presumption of truth and solemnity". Presumption of regularity, which attaches to public instruments admissible to prove the truth of their contents.

praetor peregrinus

/priːˈtɔːr pɛrɪɡrɪnʌs//pritər pɛrəgrɪnʌs/

Latin for "magistrate of foreigners". The Roman praetor (magistrate) responsible for matters involving non-Romans.

pretium pro doloribus

/ˈpriːtɪəm prəʊ dɒlərəbəs/
/pritiəm proʊ doʊlərəbəs/

Latin for "price for pain". Solatium.

prima facie

/praɪmə ˈfeɪʃɪ/ /praɪmə ˈfeɪʃi/

Latin for "at first face". A matter that appears to be sufficiently based in the evidence as to be considered true.

prior tempore potior iure

/praɪə tɛmpərɪ pəʊʃər jʊəreɪ/
/praɪər tɛmpəˌri ˈpouʃər ɪjʊrə/

Latin for "earlier in time, stronger in law". (Scots law, civil law), usually translated as "prior in time, superior in right", the principle that someone who registers (a security interest) earlier therefore ranks higher than other creditors.

pro bono

/prəʊ bəʊnəʊ/ /proʊ boʊˌnoʊ/

Latin for "for good". Professional work done for free.

pro bono publico

/prəʊ bəʊnəʊ pʊblɪkəʊ/
/proʊ boʊˌnoʊ pʌblɪˌkou/

Latin for "for the public good".

pro forma

/prəʊ fɔːmə/ /proʊ fɔrmə/

Latin for "as a matter of form". Things done as formalities.

pro hac vice

/prəʊ hæk vaɪs/ /proʊˈhæk vaɪsi/

Latin for "for this turn". Refers to a lawyer who is allowed to participate (only) in a specific case, despite being in a jurisdiction in which he has not been generally admitted.

pro per

/prəʊ pɜː/ /proʊ pɜr/

Latin for "abbreviation of propria persona, meaning "one's own person"". Representing oneself, without counsel. Also known as pro se representation.

pro rata

/ˈprəʊ ˈrɑːtə/ /proʊ ˈreɪtə/

Latin for "from the rate". A calculation adjusted based on a proportional value relevant to the calculation. An example would be a tenant being charged a portion of a month's rent based on having lived there less than a full month. The amount charged would be proportional to the time occupied.

pro se

/prəʊ seɪ/ /proʊ sei/

Latin for "for himself". Representing oneself, without counsel. Also known as pro per representation.

pro tanto

/prəʊ tæntəʊ/ /proʊ tæntou/

Latin for "for so much". A partial payment of an award or claim, based on the defendant's ability to pay.

pro tem

/prəʊ tɛm/ /proʊ tɛm/

Latin for "abbreviation of pro tempore, meaning "for the time being"". Something, such as an office held, that is temporary.

pro tempore

/prəʊ ˈtɛmpərɪ/ /proʊˈtɛmpəˌri/

Latin for "for the time being". Something, such as an office held, that is temporary.


/prəˈbeɪʃəʊ / /proʊˈbeɪʃəoʊ/

Evidence (admissible in a court of law), especially documentary evidence.

probatio probatissima

/prəˈbeɪʃəʊ prəʊbɪtɪsɪˌmə/
/proʊˈbeɪʃəoʊ proʊbeɪtɪsɪˌma/

The highest evidence, referring to testimony under oath (received into common law but not civil law).


/prɒkjʊˌreɪʃɪˌəʊ/ /prɑkjuˌreɪʃoʊ/

Latin for "management". Power of attorney, i.e. a unilateral grant of indirect representation by a principal to an attorney-in-fact.

procurator ad causas

/prɒkjʊˌreɪtə æd kaʊzəs/
/prɑkjuˌreɪtər æd kɔzəs/

Attorney employed to assist a litigant in the conduct of his lawsuit.

procurator ad negotia

/prɒkjʊˌreɪtə æd nɪˈɡəʊʃəa/
/prɑkjuˌreɪtər æd nɪˈgoʊʃiəa/

Attorney assisting his client in transacting other business.

procurator in rem suam

/prɒkjʊˌreɪtə ɪn rɛm swɑːm/
/prɑkjuˌreɪtər ɪn rɛm swɑm/

Holder of an irrevocable power of attorney


/prɒmɪtən/ /ˈprɑmɪtən/


propria persona

/prəʊprɪə pɜːˈsəʊnə/
/proʊpriə pərˈsoʊnə/

Latin for "proper person". Refers to one representing themselves without the services of a lawyer. Also known as pro per representation.

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