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Comprehensive Patent Terminology – List of Patent Terms IV

This page contains Patent terminology for letters P through Z, Click these links for:

Patent terminology for letters A through C

Patent terminology for letters D through H

Patent terminology for letters I through O

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A patents is the right to a device or process whereby the patent holder obtains or secures exclusive patent rights preventing any other party from manufacturing, taking use of, or commercially exploiting a specific invention. The patent is granted by the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office) to inventors or groups of inventors in exchange for disclosure of the particular invention. Patents may also be assigned or sold to a successor who may also continue to maintain such rights as the patent provides. Patents are regarded as specific kinds of intellectual property and are granted specifically for a period of time.

Patent ambush

This occurs when members of an organization refrains from divulging information, during participation regarding a patent and later asserts that the patent has been infringed upon by use of the standard adopted.

Patent caveat

Refers to a patent document which is a legal document turned in to the USPTO. Patent caveats were discontinued from use in 1909. The term patent caveat referred to what has now been replaced by the patent application and the information therein, but void of the patent claims.

Patent classification

A patent classification refers to a classification in technological areas which are used for organization in a manner which is convenient for retrieving prior art via patent classification searches.

Patent drawing

This is a technical, scientific, or other type of drawing used in patent applications illustrating the invention. Patent drawings are sometimes required legally to be in a particular style or mode in order to maintain uniformity in the patent process.

Patent family

A patent family refers to a group of patents which are related or unified under a common claim or priority claim. Oftentimes a patent owner will start with a single patent and will continue to build out their patent claims in a particular industry with inventions or processes which are related to the original invention or patented process.

Patent flooding

This refers to essentially flooding the patent space with patents such that every different manner of performing a specific process is patented in order to attempt to tie up the space.

Patent infringement

A patent infringement commercially exploits a specific invention which is claimed by a patent absent of the permission of the patent holder.

Patent misuse

Patent misuse refers to an affirmative defense in patent legal actions whereby the defendant has already been determined to be infringed with regards to a patent.

Patent model

A patent model is a scaled down version, or a flowchart describing or illustrating how the device, process, or apparatus functions.

Patent monetization

Monetization of a patent refers to the process of using a patent to generate revenue. The process of monetizing a pate by a patent holder is done by producing and selling products via the patent, or by licensing a patent to another entity in order to earn money.

Patent pending

The term patent pending shows that an invention has a patent application pending with the USPTO. This is used to place a marking on products alerting others to potential patent existence. The use of the term patent pending is a form of public notice which is used to obtain a date in time for which damages can be claimed retroactively.

Patent pool

A consortium of two or more companies which agree to cross-license a patent or other intellectual property rights which relate to particular technology or technologies.

Patent portfolio

A patent portfolio refers to a collection of patents which are owned by a single patent holder.

Patent thicket

A patent thicket is an industry term referring to a dense interconnection of overlapping IP (intellectual property) rights to which a company or individual must navigate to commercialize the new patent technology.

Patent troll

A patent troll is an industry pejorative for certain types of patent holders which are deemed or perceived to participate in high amounts of patent litigation regarding litigation and for which threats in are considered aggressive and/or opportunistic.

Patent watch

A patent process whereby a patent is monitored on patents which are newly issued are reviewed on a periodic basis in order to determine whether any of the newly patented technologies, devices, and/or processes may be of interest to the party performing the patent watch.


This refers to a set of substantive minimum requirements that must be met in order for a patent to be granted. A patented invention which satisfies these patentability requirements is termed patentable.

Patentability opinion

This patent legal opinion provides information on the patentability of a patent claim. These kinds of legal opinions are used to establish a determination of whether a patent should or can be obtained.


A patentee refers to the person to whom patents have been granted. This is a term for a patent holder or for a patent proprietor.

Patent Pay-for-delay

Pay for delay is a deal by which a company that holds a patent for a pharmaceutical will pay a generic drug manufacturer to hold off on releasing a generic version of the drug. The FTC has attempted unsuccessfully to block such deals and they remain legal as a method for encouraging innovation on the part of pharmaceutical companies.

Person having ordinary skill in the art

A person having ordinary skill in the art is a hypothetical person who has typical knowledge in a specific field. This person is used to assess or be witness to whether an invention passes the non-obviousness criteria. A person with ordinary skill in the art can also show whether a patent truly functions as indicated in the patent.

Petition to make patent special

A procedure requesting the USPTO to accelerate prosecution of a patent based on meeting certain requirement. In cases where the inventor is sick, of advancing years, or the invention is in an important area of science and exploration significantly able to enrich lives, the USPTO makes allowances for such petitions.


Abbreviation for “person having ordinary skill in the art”.

Patent Piracy

This pejorative term refers to willful infringements upon patents. It can also be used as being applied to energetic enforcement of a particular patent.

Patent Prior art

This refers to material which is publicly available before the priority date on a patent application which can anticipate and prevent the granting of a patent.

Patent Priority right

A patent priority right is a right to a patent claim priority from an previous, earlier patent application. A patent priority right claims priority and provides the patent which is later filed as a patent application via a priority date to the filing date on the previous application.

Patent Prosecution history estoppel

Actions during patent prosecution may estop parties from specific subsequent actions or legal assertions.

Patent Provisional application

Legal documents which are filed in the USPTO which establish early filing dates, however, which mature and become issued patents in absence of the applicant filing a normal patent application in a year’s time.

Patent Reading a claim

The term “patent reading a claim” is a process which establishes a patent infringement situation. It involves “reading” a patent claim and associating it to the patent’s technology of interest. When a patent claims include elements which are present in the technology, the patent claim “reads on the specific technology.”

Reasonable/Non Discriminatory Patent Licensing

RAND (Reasonable and non discriminatory) is patent licensing which is generally used during patent standardization processes.

Patent Reduction to practice

A reduction to practice refers to the performing of an invention or filing a patent claim application which describes the exact way of making and using an invention which is used in making the determination of who was first to invent.

Patent Reexamination

The patent examination process is used to determine whether a patent already granted should be revoked.

Patent Revocation action

A patent revocation action is a legal action or lawsuit which is initiated by someone requesting that a patent be revoked. Also referred to as “nullity action.”

Patent Sandor Obviousness

An obviousness requirement rejection which is based generally on the fact that the patent rely on only one reference where it typically relies on two referecnes. Sandor Obviousness grows out of Ex Parte Sandor Nagy in which the patent examiner would rely on just a single reference in rejecting claims at issue.

Patent Search report

A patent search report is performed at the USPTO and mentions documents and cites specific documents in explaining the rejection or acceptance of a patent claim.

Patent Second medical use

Medical use patent of a molecule or product composition wherein the initial specific use of the product composition or molecule was previously known and hence is not novel or new, yet is still patentable based on a second or further medical use which is novel. Second medical use essentially refers to a new method of using an already known molecule. For example, using a particular glue on paper to make a post-it note would have been a second use of that glue and hence, although the glue was not new, the use of the glue was, in fact, novel as a second medical use.

Patent Selection invention

A patent selective invention consists in selection of elements broken down individually, in subsets, sub-ranges, in larger general aspect.

Patent Small entity status

This status provides for small businesses, smaller, independent inventors, or nonprofits obtain a reduced fee schedule for the patent process.

Software patent

A software patent is a patent of computer software.

Submarine patent

A submarine patent is a patent which was first published as well as granted at a date far after an original patent application was filed.

Patent Sufficiency of disclosure

A requirement that states that a patent’s invention or process must be described thoroughly in the patent application sufficiently and in a clear enough and complete enough manner in order to enable a person skilled in the art to use or carry out an invention.

Certificate of Supplementary patent protection

A supplementary protection certificate is a “sui generis” legal right which is notably available in medicinal as well as in plant protection products. This right goes into force subsequent to the corresponding patent expiration. In the case of medicinal and plant protection products, it has a max term of five (5) years.

Patent Swear back of a reference

A swear back of a reference refers to the procedure in U.S. patent law by which an inventor obtains a patent in spite of the patent becoming public before the patent was granted.

Term of patent/ Patent Term / Patent lifetime

This refers to the maximum time period under which a patent may be maintained in exclusive force.

Patent Transfer

A patent or a patent application may be sold or otherwise transferred via a patent transfer.

Patent Transitional phrase

This phrase links the patent preamble claim to particular elements in the patent claim defining what the patent’s invention itself literally and actually is. The transitional phrase places limitation on patent claims, showing exactly whether similar potentially patented devices, methods, or compositions could infringe on the existing patent or pending patent.

Patent Unity of invention

A unity of invention is a requirement that an application for patent may only relate to a single invention (or group of inventions which are linked in a way that they only form one single general concept of invention.)

Patent Utility

Utility is a patentability requirement used mainly in preventing the patenting of devices which are not able to be operated. If a patent is sought for a machine that has not ever been demonstrated or which is clearly not able to be created under current technology, it is not patentable.

Patent Utility model

A utility model is similar to a patent, but with a shorter lifetime or term such as 6-10 years time. For this, a patent utility model can have significantly less stringent patentability needs or requirements.

Patent Validity opinion

A patent validity opinion which is also referred to as the converse term “invalidity opinion” refers to the legal opinion which is provided by a patent lawyer regarding the expert opinion of the patent attorney’s regarding whether a court may rule favorably or unfavorably to the validity of patent application. These legal opinions are often also used in order to decide whether to proceed with patent litigation.