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Glossary of Terms



Appraisal of patent – Using a recognized expert or third party to place a value on a patent

Assert patent – Enforcement of a patent by the owner of that patent, rather than permitting others to use it. Many patent owners do not assert patents they own for various reasons.

Assertive licensing – Aggressive and pro-active pursuit of compensation from the users of a patent by the patent owner

Contingency patent assertion – Pursuit of the payment of royalties from the user(s) of a patent by a patent enforcement firm or law firm on behalf of the patent owner when the patent enforcement firm or law firm only earns a fee for its services if it is successful in securing payment of royalties for its client

Contingency patent enforcement – Actions against the user(s) of a patent by a patent enforcement firm or law firm on behalf of the patent owner with the goal of receiving injunctive relief and/or compensation for the use of the patent, and the patent enforcement firm or law firm only earns a fee for its services if it is successful in securing results for its client

Contingency patent infringement litigation – An agreement between the client and patent enforcement firm or law firm that the firm will be compensated out of the proceeds of the case and not by the patent owner. Some firms will advance litigation expenses and filing fees themselves, while others will require the patent owner to pay those fees. General Patent Corporation does not charge patent owners any upfront fees or expenses.

Contingency patent lawsuit – Patent infringement lawsuit in which the patent owner or inventor does not pay the patent enforcement firm any money upfront for their services because the firm is compensated when the case is settled and is paid out of the proceeds of the settlement. However, some contingency patent litigation firms may require the patent owner to cover litigation expenses. General Patent Corporation does not require clients to pay litigation expenses.

Copyright – Protection of written work (such as books, plays, newspapers and magazines), recordings (songs and motion pictures), and visual arts (such as paintings or other artwork). Copyrights convey to the copyright owner an exclusionary right – the right to prevent others from copying, offering for sale, performing, displaying or making derivative versions of a work of authorship. The duration of a copyright depends on several factors, but is at least 70 years. Copyright enforcement is a service offered by General Patent Corporation.

Damages – What is paid to the plaintiff as the settlement of a lawsuit to compensate the plaintiff for the harm (or damage) done to him, her or it

Damages, expert witness on – Third-party with demonstrated expertise who helps calculate the economic damages suffered by the plaintiff in a lawsuit including lost income and other damages. General Patent Corporation provides expert witness services.

Enforce patent – Potentially costly process that involves identifying and contacting alleged patent infringers, and using the threat of patent litigation to convince patent infringers to cease their infringement of the patent(s) and/or pay for their use of the infringed patent(s). Since patent infringement is not a crime, patent enforcement must be pursued by the patent owner through civil litigation.

Expert witness on damages – Someone with expertise in the field of, for example, patent technology who can help determine the economic damages arising from patent infringement, such as lost income from use of the patent

Infringe patent – To use a patent without permission of the owner of the patent. However, if a single limitation is missing from the accused device or process, there is no infringement of the patent. This is known as the “all elements rule” of patent infringement. The device or process may have other features besides those that are accused of patent infringement, and the additional features do not negate the fact that the product or process infringes the patent.

Infringed intellectual property – In addition to patents, these can be copyrights, trademarks, service marks and/or trade secrets that are used without permission of the owner.

Infringed IP – Intellectual property, or IP, can be infringed in many ways. Patents are infringed when every element of at least one of the patent’s claims is infringed by an infringing product or process, and copyrights can be infringed by unlawful duplication and distribution of copyrighted material.

Infringed patent – Patent in which all of its limitations are used in the device or process without permission of the owner of the patent

Intellectual property – Usually a patent, trademark, service mark or copyright, but any concept, idea or invention that a person or entity can claim to have created. Inventions are protected by patents. Brand names are protected by trademarks. Advertising slogans, as well as product and service descriptions, are protected by service marks. Written documents (including software) are protected by copyrights.

Intellectual property audit – This process has several goals: Identify all of a firm’s intellectual property, ensure that all intellectual property is properly enforced, and identify intellectual assets that can be converted into intellectual property by filing for patents, copyrights or trademarks.

Intellectual property due diligence – Taking all necessary steps to ensure that intellectual property is properly protected, utilized and monetized. Examples of performing due diligence on patents includes making sure that maintenance fees are paid and promptly taking action when infringement is discovered.

Intellectual property expert – Patent attorney, licensing specialist or other intellectual property specialist who has the training and experience necessary to determine when infringement of patents, copyrights and/or trademarks has occurred, and how to enforce intellectual property that has been infringed

Intellectual property infringement – Use of (or profiting from the sale of) intellectual property (a patent, trademark or copyright) by a person, business or other entity that does not own the intellectual property and does not have permission of the owner of the intellectual property to use it

Intellectual property strategy – Mix of tactics such as knowing what competitors’ patent portfolios are worth, identifying potential patent infringers and licensees, proposing strategic alliances and much more. A service that General Patent Corporation provides is helping businesses, universities and other organizations develop and implement an intellectual property strategy.

Intellectual property valuation – Determination of the value of one’s intellectual property or patent portfolio in the absence of a market with many buyers, sellers and freely available information on prices. Intellectual property valuation can utilize one of several intellectual property valuation models, including replacement cost, discounted revenue stream, market value and incremental value. Intellectual property valuation is a service offered by General Patent Corporation.

IP – Acronym for Intellectual Property

IP attorney – Attorney with experience in one or more areas of intellectual property law, such as patent prosecution, patent enforcement, entertainment law, trademark enforcement or software copyright enforcement. IP attorneys who prosecute patents must have a scientific background and pass the patent bar exam.

IP audit – Review and assessment to identify which of a firm’s intellectual property (such as patents) is enforceable, identify intellectual assets that should be protected by patents, trademarks or copyrights, and identify intellectual property that is currently being maintained but not used by the firm. General Patent Corporation provides IP audit services.

IP due diligence – Making sure that all intellectual property (patents, copyrights and trademarks) is properly utilized and monetized, and that maintenance fees are paid on all intellectual property

IP due diligence for IPO – Research and verification performed by an investment banker, broker or other organization that is sponsoring an IPO (Initial Public Offering) to insure that all claims made about the intellectual property are valid

IP due diligence for M&A – Research and verification performed by an investment banker, accounting firm or other organization that is assisting with the merger (“merger” is the “m” in “M&A”) of a business with another business or the acquisition (“acquisition” is the “a” in “M&A”) of a business by another business, to insure that all claims made about the intellectual property are valid

IP due diligence for venture capital – Research and verification performed by a venture capital firm before it invests in a business to insure that all claims made about that business’s intellectual property are valid

IP expert - Patent attorney, licensing specialist or other intellectual property specialist who has the training and experience necessary to determine infringement of patents, copyrights and trademarks, and knows how to enforce intellectual property that may be infringed

IP infringement - Use by and/or profits from a patent, copyright or trademark owned by another person or entity without that person or entity’s permission

IP lawyer – Lawyer (or attorney) who specializes in intellectual property such as patents, trademarks and copyrights. IP lawyers usually specialize in a given field of IP such as copyright enforcement, patent prosecution or patent enforcement, or trademark litigation. IP lawyers who prosecute patents must have a scientific background and pass the patent bar exam.

IP litigator – Attorney (or lawyer) who represents plaintiffs or defendants in patent, copyright or trademark lawsuits

IP management – Supervision of an organization’s total patent, trademark and copyright portfolio. This includes valuation of patents and other intellectual property, deciding which patents to keep and maintain, and determining which patents to enforce and which to abandon or donate to a third party such as a university. Accurate IP management and portfolio valuation is critical for realizing the full value of a company’s IP, and a service offered by General Patent Corporation.

IP portfolio mining – Review and analysis of an entire organization’s IP inventory to determine which IP items have value that can be returned to the organization. General Patent Corporation provides IP portfolio mining services.

IP rights – Entitlement of the owner of a patent, trademark or copyright to exclude others from using his, her or its intellectual property without permission. Sometimes the IP owner does not have the right to practice the patent because the patent owner needs to obtain license(s) from the owner(s) of the other patent(s) his patent refers to as “prior art.”

IP strategy – Comprehensive mix of tactics such as knowing what the competitors’ patent portfolios are worth, identifying potential patent infringers and licensees, proposing strategic alliances, and identifying intellectual assets that need more protection. IP strategy development is a service offered by General Patent Corporation.

IP valuation – Putting a value on a person’s or organization’s patents, trademarks and copyrights. There are several IP valuation models including replacement cost, discounted revenue stream, market value and incremental value. IP valuation is more difficult in a case in which the technology is widely used, but IP valuation experts can arrive at an accurate number by using one of the above-mentioned IP valuation models. IP valuation is a service offered by General Patent Corporation.

License patent – Grant permission to another party to use a patented technology while the patent owner retains ownership of the patent and usually collects royalties from the licensee(s). Patent licenses may be exclusive (granting patent rights to only one licensee) or non-exclusive (granting patent rights to multiple licensees). A patent owner may license patents as a result of a lawsuit (this is known as “stick” licensing) or the licensee may take a license willingly (this is known as “carrot” licensing).

Litigate patent on contingency – Agree to represent the plaintiff in a patent infringement lawsuit on the basis that the litigator is paid from the proceeds of any settlement that results from that lawsuit, either an out-of-court settlement or the settlement awarded by the court at the conclusion of a trial. Some law firms will agree to litigate on a contingency basis that only includes their legal fees, and they require the plaintiff to cover all litigation expenses such as filing fees, research and expert witnesses. General Patent does not require clients to pay any up-front fees when it litigates a patent on a contingency basis.

Market Participant - Term given by the courts to a patentee that enforces its patent(s) and also practices those patents (uses them in a product or service it manufacturers or sells). The opposite of a market participant is a non-practicing entity. A Market Participant has access to legal remedies through the federal courts that non-practicing entities do not have.

Non-practicing entity - Term given by the courts to a patentee that enforces his or her or its patent(s) but do not practice them. This typically includes universities, inventors and patent enforcement firms. The opposite of a non-practicing entity is a Market Participant. A non-practicing entity does not have access via the federal courts to all of the legal remedies available to a market participant. For more information on non-practicing entities, see the Patent Troll page at this website.

NPE - Acronym for Non-Practicing Entity

PAE - Acronym for Patent Assertion Entity

Patent Assertion Entity - A business entity, often an LLC or LLP, that is created for the purpose of enforcing a patent. The patent or patents are transferred to the patent assertion entity, and the entity then becomes the plaintiff in the ensuing patent infringement litigation. A patent assertion entity is also known as a Patent Enforcement Firm and is referred to by the federal courts as a Non-Practicing Entity. For more information on patent assertion entities, see the Patent Troll page at this website.

Patent – Right of a person, business or other entity to prevent others from making, using, offering for sale, or importing an invention. To qualify for a patent, an invention must be novel (new), non-obvious to a person of “ordinary skill in the art” (field of technology), and useful.

Patent agent – Person who has passed the Patent Office Bar Exam but is not an attorney admitted to the bar of one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Patent agents practice in the Patent Office, preparing patentability opinions and filing and prosecuting patent applications. A patent agent may not render patent validity or infringement opinions, engage in litigation, or draft license documents; those activities may only be performed by patent attorneys (or patent lawyers).

Patent appraisal – Determination of the worth of a patent, with regard to related patents and market share. Patent appraisals are often conducted before the patent is assigned or licensed.

Patent assertion – Synonymous with patent enforcement, it is the process of protecting a patent and ensuring that licensing fees are paid for its use.

Patent assertion on a contingency basis (or “contingent basis”) – Enforcement of a patent by a third-party on behalf of the patent owner under which the third party is paid from the proceeds of any settlement it receives for the patent owner. Firms that assert patents on a contingency basis do not charge the inventor or patent owner for their services up-front and pay all expenses involved with the patent assertion process themselves. General Patent Corporation is the leading patent assertion firm and takes all clients on a contingency basis.

Patent assertion on contingency – Same as above

Patent attorney – Lawyer (or attorney) who has passed the Patent Office Bar Exam and is also admitted to the bar of one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia; Patent attorneys render patent validity or infringement opinions, engage in litigation, and/or draft patent license documents.

Patent broker – A business that represents sellers, buyers, licensors and licensees of patents and other intellectual property. Like a real estate broker or insurance broker, a patent broker often works on a commission basis, earning a fixed fee or agreed-to percentage of the sale as compensation for selling a client’s patent or patents. Patent brokers also help businesses acquire patents, assist patentees in the licensing of their patents, and find patents to be licensed for clients seeking a specific technology.

Patent brokerage – The business of assisting in the sale, purchase and licensing of patents and other intellectual property. Patent brokerage is a highly specialized business because of the unique aspects of a patent as a business asset.

Patent case – Legal claim or lawsuit that involves the infringement and/or enforcement of a patent

Patent clause – The section of the U.S. Constitution – Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 – that established the concept behind the U.S. Patent and Copyright system. The clause gives Congress the power to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

Patent damages - Economic losses suffered by a patent owner that is suing for patent infringement. Patent damages can include past lost profits and future income as well as other harm done to the patent owner.

Patent enforcement – Also known as patent assertion, the process of ensuring that a patent infringer takes a license under the patent and pays the patent owner for use of the patent. Patent enforcement often involves patent litigation.

Patent enforcement firm – A business that assists patent owners in the licensing and enforcement of their patents by managing and financing a comprehensive patent enforcement campaign on the patentee’s behalf on a contingency basis. The clients of a patent enforcement firm are typically inventors, small to mid-size businesses and universities whose patents have been infringed, but they cannot afford the millions of dollars it costs to pursue a patent infringement claim. Founded in 1987, General Patent Corporation is the oldest patent enforcement firm in business today and the company that developed the original contingency patent enforcement business model. A patent enforcement firm is also known as a Non-Practicing Entity or Patent Assertion Entity, and the derogatory term for a patent enforcement firm is Patent Troll. For more information on patent trolls, visit the Patent Troll page at this website or view The Ballad of the Patent Troll video.

Patent enforcement on a contingency basis (or “contingent basis”) – Agreement with the patent owner to represent the patent owner in patent enforcement litigation on the basis that the litigator’s fees will be paid from the proceeds of the litigation; Some law firms will agree to have their legal fees paid out of the settlement, but they require the patent owner to pay for litigation expenses such as research and expert witnesses. General Patent Corporation does not charge the patent holder any upfront fees and is only compensated when – and if − it receives a satisfactory settlement for the patent holder.

Patent enforcement on contingency – Same as above

Patent expert – Patent attorney (or patent lawyer), patent agent or other person with expertise in intellectual property law or patent enforcement, patent valuation and other patent-related areas

Patent expert witness – Person with recognized expertise in patent infringement, patent enforcement and patent valuation that provides testimony in a court of law for either plaintiffs or defendants in patent infringement litigation. Patent expert witnesses are usually experts in a given field of technology.

Patent experts - Patent attorneys (or patent attorneys), patent agents or other persons with expertise in intellectual property law or patent-related areas.

Patent guru – Slang term for a patent expert with broad experience in patents and high-tech industries

Patent infringement – Use of a patent by a persona, business or other entity that does not own it and does not permission of the owner of the patent to use it. Patent infringement occurs when a device or process meets every limitation of at least one of the patent’s claims. A device or process need not infringe every claim in a patent in order to be considered as infringing the patent.

Patent infringement case – Lawsuit filed against the infringer of a patent by the patent owner

Patent infringement litigation – Potentially long and costly process of a judge or jury determining whether the accused device or process infringes on a patent and, possibly, whether the patent-in-suit is valid and enforceable in the first place. Patent infringement litigation can be risky for patent holders, and should not be attempted without competent legal counsel or the assistance of a patent enforcement company.

Patent infringement litigation on a contingency basis (or “contingent basis”) – Representation of the plaintiff in a patent infringement lawsuit on the basis that the litigator or patent enforcement firm will be paid its fees from the settlement received as a result of the litigation. Some law firms agree to be paid their legal fees on a contingency basis, but require that the plaintiff cover litigation expenses such as research and expert witnesses. General Patent Corporation does not charge patent holders any up-front fees, but is instead paid from the proceeds of whatever settlement is received as a result of the litigation.

Patent infringement litigation on contingency (or “contingent basis”) – Same as above.

Patent lawsuit – Legal action taken on the part of a patent owner against an alleged infringer of the patent owner’s patent

Patent lawyer – Attorney (or lawyer) who has passed the Patent Office Bar Exam and is also admitted to the bar of one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Patent lawyers render patent validity or infringement opinions, engage in litigation, and/or draft patent license documents.

Patent licensing – Process of a patent owner issuing a grant to another party for the rights to use the patented invention. A license may be royalty-bearing or non-royalty-bearing, and a royalty-bearing license may be either paid-up in a lump sum or be a running royalty, where the royalty is based on the sales of the licensed goods or services.

Patent litigation - Another term for a patent lawsuit or patent infringement lawsuit, in which a patent owner sues another party for infringement of the patent.

Patent litigation on a contingency basis (or “contingent basis”) – Agreement to represent a patent owner in a patent infringement lawsuit on the basis that the fees for such representation will be paid from the proceeds of any settlement resulting from that lawsuit. Many law firms agree to be paid their legal fees on a contingency basis, but require the plaintiff to cover litigation expenses such as research and expert witnesses. General Patent Corporation works on a totally contingent basis, and does not charge patent holders any up-front charges, but instead receives repayment of litigation expenses and payment for their services when the patent litigation has been resolved from the proceeds of the settlement.

Patent litigation on contingency – Same as above.

Patent litigator – Patent attorney (or patent lawyer) who represent s plaintiffs or defendants in patent infringement cases. Patent litigators must possess both technical expertise and extensive trial experience.

Patent portfolio management – Supervision of a person’s or an organization’s patents, deciding which patents to keep and maintain, and determining which patents to enforce and which to donate to universities or other organizations. Comprehensive and knowledgeable portfolio management and portfolio valuation is critical for realizing the full value of a company’s patents.

Patent prosecution – The process of applying for a patent and following the patent application process through to the issuance of a patent. While an inventor can file for a patent on his or her own, many use the services of a patent agent or patent attorney to assist with the prosecution of the patent application. See the definitions of Patent Agent and Patent Attorney (above) to learn the differences between these two types of patent practitioners.

Patent triage – Process of classifying a company’s patents in three broad categories: core, non-core and useless. Portfolio triage is an essential aspect of patent portfolio management because it helps the patent owner save money by donating useless patents and better monetizing useful patents through enforcement or licensing.

Patent troll – Less than flattering term used by defendants in patent infringement cases to describe a plaintiff who does not practice a patent, but pursues litigation against those the patent owner believes is infringing the patent. For more information on patent trolls, visit the Patent Troll page at this website or view the video, The Ballad of the Patent Troll.

Patent valuation – Method of determining the worth of a patent portfolio with regard to similar patents and technologies

Patent violation – Synonymous with patent infringement, which occurs when a device or process meets every limitation of at least one of the patent’s claims

Service mark – Word, symbol or combination thereof that is used to identify the source of a particular service. A well-known service mark is “The American Express Card. Don’t leave home without it.”

Technology transfer - Process of conveying scientific research or patents from one organization or one application to another organization or application for the purpose of further development and commercialization. Management of technology transfer is a service offered by General Patent Corporation.

Trademark – Word, symbol or combination thereof that identifies the source of goods. Common trademarks include Nike, Coca-Cola and Apple along with their well-known logos. Trademark enforcement is a service offered by General Patent Corporation.

USPTO – Acronym for United States Patent and Trademark Office

United States Patent and Trademark Office - Agency within the United States Department of Commerce that issues patents for inventions and registers trademarks for product identification (www.uspto.gov)

Valuation of a patent – Method of determining the worth of a single patent with regard to similar patents and technologies

Valuation of patent – Determination of the dollar worth of a patent, and since it depends on several factors, it is most accurate when done by a third-party patent valuation expert

Valuation of patent portfolio – Determination of the worth of the patents owned by a person, company or other organization. The process involves pinpointing those patents that are useless and those that can have more value extracted from them.

Value patent – Use a recognized expert or third party to place a dollar worth on a patent

Value patent portfolio – Use a recognized expert to place a worth on all the patents owned by a person, business or other organization. Businesses often hire a patent valuation expert to classify their patents as core, non-core or useless, and this enables a business to extracting more value from their patent portfolio.

Violate patent – Synonym for "infringe patent"