Definition of Intellectual Property Terms
A restriction requirement is a request by the patent examiner to elect one invention for examination during prosecution of the patent application. A patent application may describe two or more inventions. However, the claim set may have claims that are directed to two or more inventions. The examiner will request the applicant to limit the claims to or select (i.e., elect or election) one of the inventions for examination due to the burden of examining two or more inventions.
|Continuing application (continuation, divisional and continuation-in-part applications)|
A continuation, divisional or continuation-in-part application.
An office action is a written explanation by an examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) of the reasons for rejecting a patent application. The office action summarizes the examiner’s review of the patent application and search of the prior art to see if the invention meets the legal requirements to get a patent. If the patent application is rejected, then the office action will list out the reasons for the rejection and the basis for the reasons. Typically, a response to the office action must be made within three months of the mail date of the office action. The response to the office action may be made by after the initial three month period with the payment of progressively higher extension of time fee.
|Abandonment||A patent application becomes abandoned when the applicant fails to respond to an office action.||Patent||A|
|Provisional patent application (PPA)|
A provisional patent application is a lower cost option compared to a non provisional patent application. At a minimum, the provisional patent application must contain an explanation of the invention and drawings if necessary to understand how to make and use the invention. Provisional patent applications are automatically abandoned 12 months after filing and cannot be extended. They are never examined by the Patent Office.
Patent protection is used in two different ways by patent attorneys. Patent attorneys say that you are patent protected when you file a patent application. This is incorrect because you do not have a patent when you file an application for patent. It is merely an application at that point without any enforceable patent rights.
A patent application serial number is a two digit number followed by 6 digits.
|Patent or Invention Assignment||A transfer of right from one entity to another. In patent matters, an invention vests with the person that conceives of the idea. For a corporation or the employer to own the invention, the invention must be assigned to the entity. Otherwise, the employee or inventor owns the invention. The entity could own or use the invention through other doctrines such as the hired-to-invent or shop rights.||Patent|
|Assignee||The entity which receives the (patent and/or trademark) rights.||Patent and Trademark|
|Assignor||The entity which gives the (patent and/or trademark) rights.||Patent and Trademark|
|Nonprovisional patent application (NPA)||A non provisional patent application must include a disclosure of the invention, a claim and at least one drawing if necessary. Formally, the non provisional patent application also includes an abstract, background section, brief summary of the invention section, brief description of the drawing section, and a full claim set. The non provisional patent application enters the queue for examination on a first come first served basis.|
Compare to provisional patent application.
|Patent Cooperation Treaty|
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is a multilateral treaty that creates an international filing procedure. The procedure consists of two stages, both of which are handled by the International Bureau in Geneva. The first stage consists of filing an international application that places the applicant under no obligations to pursue the matter further (although the application will be published). During the second stage, several national and regional patent offices have the opportunity to review the merits of the application and issue patents if they so choose.