IP Glossary

Abandoned is the status accorded to an application when the applicant has failed to respond to official communications within the prescribed time period.

An Abstract is a brief summary of an invention contained in a patent application. The abstract is purely for technical information purposes and it has no relevance as regards interpreting the scope of the protection sought.

Accepted is the status of a trade mark application, when it has been examined by the examiner and accepted  for publication in the Journal of the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland.

Address for service
An "address for service" is a requirement for all applications for the grant of a Patent, the registration of a trade mark or industrial design and in certain other procedures before the Office. This can be the address of the applicant or the address of the agent where one has been appointed. At present the address for service must be in a state that is a contracting party to the EEA Agreement.

An affidavit is a written statement made upon oath or affirmation and signed in the presence of a person who is authorised to administer oaths (normally a solicitor).

Decisions of the Controller or his Officers, such as a refusal to grant a patent or to register a trade mark etc. are open to appeal. Usually an appeal is made to the High Court, and further appeal, with leave, can be made to the Supreme Court.

An application is the formal request for the grant of a patent, the registration of a trade mark, or the registration of a design.

An applicant is the person or corporation that applies for the grant of a patent, or registration of a trade mark or design.

Article 6ter
Article 6ter is the article of the Paris Convention, which allows for protection of State emblems. Ireland has notified two emblems under this article, namely the Harp and the Shamrock.

An assignment is the transfer of an intellectual property right by one person (the assignor) to another (the assignee).

An author is the creator of an artistic, literary, musical or dramatic work in the case of copyright, and in the case of design the person who creates the design.

Authorisation of Agent
The form or document wherein the applicant formally appoints an agent to act on his behalf is referred to as an authorisation of agent. This does not have to be filed with every application, however the Controller may request it if it is deemed necessary. The application form used to request the grant of a patent, the application form to register either a trade mark or design each includes a section wherein the applicant may authorise an agent to act. 

Background of the Invention
The background of the invention is a subsection of a patent application detailing the complete history of the relevant technology or art.

A Caveat is a request from any party accompanied by the prescribed fee to be notified by the Office when a trade mark application is accepted or registered, or when a design is registered, or for certain prescribed information relating to patent applications or granted patents.

The claims are the part of a patent application that is contained in the specification, which defines the matter for which protection is sought in terms of its technical features. The claims define the legal scope of a patent. What falls within that definition is protected by the patent, - anything outside it is not protected. The claims must be clear and concise and be supported by the description. An Independent Claim is a claim that has no dependency upon another claim within an application. A Dependent Claim is a claim that refers back to a previous claim. It defines an invention that is narrower in scope than that in the previous claim.

In order to enable the efficient search and retrieval of information, systems of classification exist for Patents, trade marks and Designs. The system by which goods and services are grouped for the purposes of trade mark registration is the internationally agreed system referred to as the Nice classification. The Vienna Classification is used in relation to figurative elements for trade marks. The Locarno Classification is used in relation to the registration of Designs. The International Patent Classification (IPC) is used for Patents.

The Controller of Intellectual Property is the person in charge of the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland.

Convention Country
A convention Country means a Country that is a party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, or is a member of the World Trade Organisation.

Copyright is a legal term describing rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works. The kinds of works covered by copyright include: literary works such as novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspapers and computer programs; databases; films, musical compositions, and choreography; artistic works such as paintings, drawings, photographs and sculpture; architecture; and advertisements, maps and technical drawings.

Deferment of publication
Publication of a design may be deferred for a period of up to 30 months from the filing date, or where priority is claimed, for a period of up to 30 months from the date of priority on payment of the prescribed fee. In effect this means that the registration is not published by the Controller or made available to the public until the period of deferment expires.

The description is the part of a patent application contained in the specification that contains instructions that would inform a skilled person how to make or use the invention.

A logo or symbol, which is used as a trade mark is referred to as a device or figurative mark.

A disclaimer is a statement that the owner of a mark has no exclusive rights to the disclaimed element of a trade mark.

Drawings are illustrations explaining an invention contained in the specification of a patent application.

European Patent Convention (EPC)
The European Patent Convention (EPC) came into force in 1977and established the European Patent Office (EPO). Ireland became a member of the organisation with effect from 1st August 1992. The main advantage and purpose of the EPC is that is allows patent rights to be obtained in any one or more of the EPC contracting States by making a single European patent application. This may be considerably cheaper than making a separate "national" application in each country. When granted a European patent has the effect of a national patent in each of the Countries designated. European patent applications may be filed either with national patent offices or directly with the Hague Branch of the EPO. 

European Patent Office (EPO)
The European Patent Office is an intergovernmental organisation (not dependant of the EU) whose principal function is the granting of European patents, on the basis of a uniform law and centralised procedures, for the contracting states to the European Patent Convention (EPC), which was signed in Munich on 5 October 1973 and entered into force on 7 October 1977. By a single patent application, the EPO grants a "bundle" of national patents in respect of the contracting States that the applicant designates.

European Patent
The granted European patent is a "bundle" of national patents.  By filing a single application in one of the three official languages (English, French and German) it is possible to obtain patent protection in some or all of the (38 as of June 2012) EPC contracting states. In most contracting states, for the patent to take effect it must be validated, for example, if necessary, a translation of the specification into an official language of that state has to be filed with the national patent office. These matters are governed by national law.

European Union Trade Mark
A European Union trade mark is a registration granted by the European Intellectual Property Office (formally The Office for the Harmonisation in the Internal market). A registered European Union trade mark is protected in all 28 countries of the EU.

European Union Intellectual Property Office EUIPO (formally OHIM)
The European Union Intellectual Property Office is the community institution whose role is to register European Union trade marks and Community designs. European Union Trade Marks or registered Community designs are thus protected throughout the territory of the European Union in a single application.

Examination is the study of a patent application in the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland, by an examiner, to determine whether or not the invention described therein can be patented. This examination will determine whether the application complies with all the legal requirements set out in the Patents Act, 1992.  In the light of the issues raised in an examination report, amendment of the patent application may be required.

A patent examiner is an officer of the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland whose purpose is to evaluate the patentability of an invention claimed in a patent application. A trade mark examiner examines trade mark and design applications to ensure that they comply with the various legal provisions.

An exhibit is a document or object included as part of the evidence in proceedings before the Controller.

Ex parte proceedings
Ex parte proceedings, also known as without-notice proceedings is a hearing before the Office in order to resolve an issue between a single party (for example, the applicant for a patent or the registration of a trade mark), and the Office.

Field of Invention
Field of Invention is the definition of the specific field or art to which an invention belongs.

Filing date
The filing date is the date on which the minimum requirements for requesting the grant of a patent, the registration of a trade mark or design are supplied to the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland.

A hearing is a final appeal by an applicant to the Office. It is a formal hearing usually orally where the applicant or the agent on behalf of the applicant presents the evidence, for example, as to why a trade mark should be registered or why a certain proposed action by the office cannot be agreed. The decision of a hearing can be appealed to the High Court.

Industrial Designs
An industrial design is the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of a product. The design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or surface of an article, or of two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or colour. Registration of a design provides the proprietor with a property right known as a "Design Right".

Infringement is the legal term defining illegal use of someone else's protected intellectual property rights.

An injunction is a court order prohibiting a person from doing something or requiring a person to do something.

International patent application
The Patent Cooperation Treaty is an International treaty administered by the WIPO, which was concluded in Washington in 1970 and came into force in 1978. The PCT provides a system by which a single international application in one of the contracting states allows for the designation of  152 (as of August 2017) Countries in which one wishes to have a patent. The applicant designates those Countries in which a patent is desired and in due course the relevant national patent authority grants a patent. Applicants wishing to designate Ireland must select the European Patent (EP) option.

Inter partes proceedings
Inter partes  proceedings,  also known as with-notice proceedings, is a hearing before the Office to resolve an issue between two or more parties.

Inventive step
If a patent for an invention is to be granted, the invention must contain an inventive step. This means that the invention must not be an obvious development of what has gone before, when considered by someone who is skilled in the area of technology to which the invention relates.

Intellectual property
Creative ideas and expressions of the human mind receive legal protection in the form of a property right when the ideas result for example in an invention, a product, a work of Art etc.  Patents, trade marks, designs and copyright are the main intellectual property rights. Intellectual property is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes patents, trade marks, industrial designs; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs

An invention is every new and useful machine, article, process or any new use of the same that is described and/or claimed in a patent or patent application.

An inventor is anyone whose involvement and contribution was essential to the development of the invention. The one who is first to conceive of a particular invention and who diligently works to convert this conception into a tangible physical property.

"Lapsed" is a term used to describe a patent that is no longer protected in a Country or system due to failure to pay renewal fees. However, the patent can be reinstated within a limited period.

A License is a contractual agreement giving written permission to another party to use an intellectual property right of another person/company etc and setting out the terms of use.

A licensor is the party granting rights under a license agreement.

A licensee is the party to whom a licence has been granted.

Madrid Agreement/ Protocol
The Madrid Agreement/Protocol is an international system of trade mark registration, administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which allows the owner of a trade mark registered in one Country to apply for protection of that trade mark in other Countries party to the agreement/protocol.

Moral Rights
Moral rights are the rights an author retains over the integrity of a work and the right to be named as its author even after sale or transfer of the copyright.

Multiple applications (industrial designs)
Under the design legislation it is possible to apply for up to 100 designs in one application known as a multiple design application.  This is subject to the condition that the products in which or to which it is intended to apply the designs, all belong to the same class of the Locarno system of International Classification, except in cases of ornamentation.

Novelty is a requirement for patentability and for design registration. The invention in the case of a patent or the design in the case of design registration must not from part of the state of the art. The state of the art comprises everything made available to the public anywhere in the world, by means of written or oral description, by use or any other way, before the filing of the patent application or design application.

Open for Public Inspection
A patent application is published, i.e. certain documents relating to the application are open to public inspection, as soon as practicable after the expiry of a period of eighteen months from the filing date (or the priority date if there is one), unless it has been finally refused or withdrawn before the termination of the technical preparations for publication.

Paris Convention For The Protection Of Industrial Property
The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property is an international treaty on intellectual property concluded in 1883 and updated several times that provides common rules between the State parties for the administration of intellectual property rights.

A patent is a government grant that gives an inventor the right, for a limited period, to prevent others from making, using or selling an invention without the owner's permission.

Patentability is the ability of an invention to satisfy the legal requirements for obtaining a patent, including novelty.

Patent Application
A patent application is the patent documentation as filed, including a specification describing the invention, any necessary drawings, any claim(s) legally defining the limits of the rights claimed, and the filing fee.

Patent Pending
A "Patent Pending" notice on a product informs others that an application for a patent has been filed, and that legal protection (including retroactive rights) may be forthcoming.

Patent agent
A patent agent is a person who is appointed to act on behalf of an applicant for the purposes of drafting a patent application and then taking that patent application through the various stages needed to grant the patent. The Controller maintains a register of patent agents and only those registered in this register may act as patent agents. 

PCT Patent Cooperation Treaty
The Patent Cooperation Treaty is an International treaty administered by  WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation), which was concluded in Washington in 1970 and came into force in 1978. The PCT provides a system by which a single international application in one of the contracting states allows for the designation of 152 (as of August 2017) Countries in which one wishes to have a patent. The applicant designates those Countries in which a patent is desired and in due course the relevant national patent authority grants a patent. Applicants wishing to designate Ireland must select the European Patent (EP) option.

Plant Breeders' Rights
"Plant breeders' rights"  is a form of intellectual property designed specifically to protect new varieties of plants. It is a right to the control of the multiplication and sale of reproductive material for a particular plant variety.

Preliminary Search
A preliminary search is a search of intellectual property records before submitting an application for registration in order to verify whether a patent, trademark or industrial design has been previously applied for or registered. The search may disclose conflicting registrations, and show that the application process would be in vain.

Prior Art
Existing technological information against which an invention or design is judged to determine if it is novel and can thus be registered.  Prior art references include documentary sources such as patents and publications from anywhere in the world, and non documentary sources such as things known or used publicly.

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property provides that once you file an application in one country party to the Convention, you are entitled to claim priority for a period of twelve months for patents, six months for trade marks and industrial designs and the filing date of that first application is considered the "priority date." Therefore, when you apply for protection in other member countries (of the Paris Convention) during those months, the filing date of your first application is considered to have "priority" over other applications filed after that date. In such a case, you still succeed in being the first-to-file in other member countries, even if there are other applications filed before the filing date of your application in those countries.

A patent application is published, i.e. certain documents relating to the application are open to public inspection, as soon as practicable after the expiry of a period of eighteen months from the filing date (or the priority date if there is one), unless it has been finally refused or withdrawn before the termination of the technical preparations for publication. When a patent is granted the specification of the granted patent is also published.

Renewal fees
Annual renewal fees are payable to the Office in order to keep patents in force from year three to year 20 in respect of long term patents and from year 3 to year 10 in respect of short term patents. In respect of trade marks, renewal fees are payable 10 years after the registration date and may be continually renewed every ten years. Industrial designs can be renewed every five years subject to the maximum protection period of 25 years.

A representation is an image or likeness of the design or trade mark  (line drawings, photograph, etc ) for which registration is sought.

The proceedings by which a patent, which has lapsed through failure to pay renewal fees, may be restored are known as restoration.

Revocation                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Revocation is the process by which a granted patent or a registered trade mark can be revoked. This can happen, for example, because it is demonstrated that the patent does not satisfy one of the patentability criteria - but it can also occur for other reasons. In the case of a trade mark, revocation results when the mark has not been put to genuine use within the 5-year period allowed for doing so. The Office does not of its own motion revoke trade marks that have not been put to genuine use, but will adjudicate on any application for revocation lodged by a third party.

Search report
A search report is a written report sent to the applicant by a patent examiner having being requested by the applicant, bringing to the applicant's attention documents which are thought by the patent examiner to establish whether the invention is novel and inventive.

Semiconductor Topographies
Special intellectual property protection for the layout design of a semiconductor chip or its topography.

The specification is the term used to cover the description, drawings and claims contained in a patent application.

Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC)
A supplementary protection certificate (SPC) extends the duration of the exclusive patent right solely in respect of medicines or plant protection products. The SPC comes into force when the relevant patent expires and lasts for up to a maximum of 5 years.

Trade mark
A trade mark is a distinctive sign which identifies certain goods or services as those produced or provided by a specific person or enterprise. They may be made up of two- or three-dimensional signs such as letters, numbers, words, shapes, logos or pictures. The period of protection is initially 10 years from the date of filing, but a trade mark can be renewed indefinitely beyond the time limit on payment of renewal fees.

Abbreviation of "Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Matters". (Part of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade).

World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO)
 An intergovernmental organisation, with its headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland), responsible for promoting of the protection of intellectual property throughout the world by encouraging co-operation between nations.