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Glossary

Abandonment – Patents
A patent becomes abandoned when the patent owner fails to pay the required renewal/annuity fees.

Abandonment – Trade marks
When the holder stops using the mark with no intention of using it again, this is called “abandonment”.

Annuity Fees
Annuities are fees that are paid to maintain a granted patent in force. The term annuities is often used in Europe and the United States to refer to renewal fees. The law on payment of annuities differs depending on the jurisdiction; this includes the fee due and regularity of the payments.

Application Date
The application date is the date on which the patent office received the patent application.

Application Number
The unique number assigned to a patent application when it is filed.

Assignment – Patents
This refers to the transfer of ownership of a patent application or patent from one entity to another.

Assignment – Trade marks
This refers to the transfer of ownership of a trade mark application or trade mark registration from one entity to another.

Claims
Claims define the invention the application intends to protect and also define the scope of the protection application. In some jurisdictions an extra charge is added to the official fee per claim at the time of renewal.

Designs
Design rights protect the shape of the three-dimensional design. There are two types of design rights: registered designs and unregistered designs.

European Patent
A European Patent is the term used to describe a patent application that has been filed at the European Patent Office (EPO) rather than being filed in one or more of the national patent offices, such as the UKIPO. Granted European Patents have the same legal rights and are subject to the same conditions as a national patent.

Expiry Date
This is the date when a patent has reached its full term and is no longer valid.

Expired
This refers to when the patent or trade mark is no longer active.

Filing Date
This is the date when the application is received by the patent office.

Grace period
A patent due for renewal will lapse into the grace period when the renewal date payment deadline has been missed. Depending on the jurisdiction, this can be anything from 6 months to 1 year. If the renewal is not paid during the grace period the patent will lapse.

Grant Date
This is the date when the patent office issues a patent for the application.

Intellectual Property
Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the mind such as inventions, designs, artistic work etc. IP is protected by law and some common Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are copyright, patents, designs and trade marks.

Lapse Date
This is the date when a patent is no longer valid due to failure to pay the required renewal/annuity fees. If the lapse was unintentional, the patent office may allow reinstatement within a specific time period. This process can be complex and expensive and there is no guarantee of restoration.

Licensing
A license is an agreement between the IP right owner and another party. It grants the owner permission to do something that otherwise would be an infringement of the rights without the license.

Official Fees
Official fees are the charges that the patent and trade mark offices in each jurisdiction require to be paid when you apply for intellectual property protection.

Patent
A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a particular jurisdiction in exchange for public disclosure of the invention. A patent owner has the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the patented invention for the term of the patent, which is usually 20 years from the filing date.

Patent Application
An application that is filed with the Patent Office in a desired jurisdiction where patent protection is desired. The application consists of the description of the invention together with the official forms and correspondence relating to the application. The application will be examined by the office before the patent is granted.

Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
The PCT assists applicants in obtaining patent protection for their inventions. By filing one international patent application under the PCT, applicants can simultaneously seek protection for an invention in 148 counties throughout the world.

Patent Family
A Patent Family is a set of patent applications or publications taken in multiple countries to protect a single invention by a common inventor(s), which then patented in more than one country.

Patent Infringement
This is the act of making, using, selling or offering to sell a patented invention without the permission of the patent holder. Patent infringement is only possible in a country where the patent is in force.

Patent Pending
This is the term used in relation to an invention once the patent application has been filed, but before it has been granted or the application has been abandoned.

Publication Date
This is the date when an invention is first published and becomes available to the public.

IP Recordals
This is when IP rights need to be reassigned and recorded perhaps following a merger, acquisition or restructure. This could be a change of ownership; change of name and/or address; entry of licenses; availability of license or mortgages. Any changes must be recorded and reassigned in order to maintain IP protection and to avoid any infringement.

Renewal Fees
Renewal fees are fees that are paid to maintain a granted patent in force. The law on the payment of renewal fees differs depending on the jurisdiction. This means that the fee due and the regularity of the payments differs across different territories.

Renewal Date
A renewal date for a patent or trademark is the date by which you must pay the required renewal or annuity fees to keep the patent or trade mark in force. After this date the renewal falls into what is known as the grace period, which can be anything from 6 months to 1 year.

Trade mark
A Trade mark protects words, names, symbols, sounds, or colours that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others. Trade marks can be renewed forever as long as they are being used in commerce.

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