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Glossary

Abstract - A concise statement of the technical disclosure of the patent and should include that which is new in the art to which the invention pertains. (MPEP § 608.01(b))

Applicant - Effective September 16, 2012, the USPTO revised the rules of practice to permit a person to whom the inventor has assigned or is under an obligation to assign an invention to file and prosecute a patent application as the applicant, and to permit a person who otherwise shows sufficient proprietary interest in the matter to file and prosecute a patent application as the applicant on behalf of the inventor. Where no applicant is identified, the USPTO will, by default, consider the inventor to be the applicant. (see MPEP § 605)

Application - An application filed with the USPTO to patent an invention. The application number is a unique number assigned to the patent application when it is filed and includes a two digit series code followed by a six digit serial number. (MPEP § 503) PatentsView includes all patent applications that are published. (see MPEP § 1120 for additional information about publication of patent applications) .

Assignee - The entity—e.g., company, foundation, partnership, holding company or individual—that is the recipient of a transfer of a patent application, patent, trademark application or trademark registration from its owner of record (assignor). (see MPEP § 301 for more information regarding ownership and assignability)

At-Issue or Original Classification - The classification assigned to a patent at the time it is granted.  Under the U.S. Patent Classification (USPC) system, the principal mandatory or primary class/subclass appears in bold on the face of the published patent and is known as the “original classification (OR).” (Whereas all other USPC class/subclasses are “cross-reference classifications (XR)”; for pre-grant publications (PGPub), “primary classification” and “secondary classification” are used instead of OR and XR, respectively.) Under the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system, the bolded classifications are the inventive CPCs (to include CPC First). (References: Overview of the U.S. Patent Classification System (USPC), December 2012, https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/patents/resources/classification/overview.pdf; and Patent & Trademark Resource Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, Lesson 3: Parts of a Patent, https://lo.library.wisc.edu/patents/lesson_3.html)

Cited reference - A reference that is cited by a patent document. Cited references include U.S. patent documents, foreign patent documents, and non-patent literature. They appear in the “references cited” section of a published U.S. patent and may be disclosed by the applicant or cited by the examiner. (Pre-grant publications do not contain a “references cited” section.) (see MPEP § 609 for applicant’s Information Disclosure Statement and  MPEP § 707.05 for citations by examiners)

Citing patent – The patent that cites a U.S. patent document, foreign patent document, or non-patent literature as a reference in its ”references cited” section. (Pre-grant publications do not contain a “references cited” section.) (also cited reference)

Claim - A patent claim particularly points out and distinctly claims the subject matter which the inventor or joint inventor regards as his or her invention or discovery. The set of claims provides the definition of that for which protection is granted. (MPEP § 608.01(i) and (k))

Co-inventor - An inventor who is named with at least one other inventor in a patent application, wherein each inventor contributes to the conception (creation) of the invention set forth in at least one claim in a patent application..(see MPEP 2109.IV; also joint inventor)

Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) - A bilateral patent classification system developed by the USPTO and the European Patent Office (EPO) to harmonize and replace each office’s individual classification system, the U.S. Patent Classification (USPC) and the European Classification (ECLA). CPC is jointly managed by both offices and is a hierarchical scheme based on the International Patent Classification (IPC) system. CPC consists of symbols for: section, class, subclass and group, wherein the group may be a main group or a subgroup. The USPTO formally launched the CPC system in January 2013. (see MPEP § 905 and the USPTO Patent Classification website,  https://www.uspto.gov/patents/search/classification-standards-and-development for more information)

Current Classification - The most recent classification for a given patent. The classification of a granted patent may change, for example, when a new class or subclass is added to the schema. Under the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC), the classification may also change, for example, based on new members of a patent family (MPEP 905.03(a)) or during prosecution of the patent application by each patent office. PatentsView uses the current classification to determine the most recent National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) category.

Design Patent – A design patent may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. (MPEP § 1501)

Disambiguation - The PatentsView process of identifying the same entity (person, organization, etc.) across and between datasets when there is no common system of entity identifiers.

Filing Date - The date a patent application was filed with the USPTO. For applications entering the U.S. national stage under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), PatentsView records the national stage entry date under 35 U.S.C. 371; the actual U.S. filing date, however, is the international filing date (see MPEP §§ 1810 and 1893). Additionally, PatentsView does not capture the “effective” filing date of the claimed invention, i.e., the date that reflects the priority to, or the benefit of, the filing date of a prior-filed application (see MPEP §§ 210, 211, 213, and 2152.01).

First Named Inventor - The first inventor listed on a patent application.

Grant Date - The date a patent was issued by the USPTO. (see MPEP § 2701 for additional information regarding the patent term)

Independent Inventors - Inventors who "own" their own patents and do not assign title to the patent to another entity (e.g, company, foundation, partnership, or holding). (see UPSTO Open Data Portal, Independent Inventor Patent Count, https://developer.uspto.gov/visualization/independent-inventor-patent-count, for discussion and metrics regarding independent inventors)

International Patent Classification (IPC) – The patent classification system published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). (For more information, see WIPI IPC website, https://www.wipo.int/classifications/ipc/en/, and the USPTO International Classification Resources website, https://www.uspto.gov/patents/search/understanding-patent-classifications/international)

Inventor - One who contributes to the conception of an invention. (MPEP § 2109.II) .

Joint Inventor - An inventor who is named with at least one other inventor in a patent application, wherein each inventor contributes to the conception of the invention set forth in at least one claim in a patent application. (MPEP § 2109.IV; see also co-inventor)

Kind Code - A World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standard ST.16 code assigned by the USPTO to published patent documents. The code consists of a letter, and in many cases a number, that distinguishes the kind of document (e.g., utility patent application publication, utility patent, plant patent application publication, plant patent, or design patent) and sequence of publication (e.g., first publication, second publication, or corrected publication). (MPEP § 901.04(a))

Location, At-issue - The location of an inventor or assignee as recorded on a published patent or application.

Location, Most Recent - The location as recorded on an inventor or assignee’s most recent patent in the PatentsView database. PatentsView determines this data by the results of the inventor and assignee disambiguation and is the default location for both inventors and assignees in the data visualization tool.

NBER Category - The patent technological categories/subcategories designed by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) as part of the patent database project (Hall, Jaffe, and Trajtenberg 2002). USPTO has generated an algorithm to assign NBER subcategories to U.S. patents issued after 2006. For details, see http://ssrn.com/abstract=2616724.

Patent - A property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor "to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States" for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.

Patent Processing Time (or pendency) - The duration between the filing date of a patent application and its disposal (e.g., issued as a patent or abandoned); also known as pendency. For more information, see USPTO, Patents Pendency Data website, https://www.uspto.gov/dashboard/patents/pendency.html.

Plant Patent – A plant patent may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant, including cultivated sports, mutants, hybrids, and newly found seedlings, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state. (MPEP § 1601; 35 U.S.C. 161)

Specification - a written description of the invention and the manner and process of making and using the same. (see MPEP 608.01 for more information)

Title - The title of a patent or patent application. (MPEP § 606)

Type - The type of patent application or document—utility, design, or plant; type also includes reissue patents, defensive publications, and statutory invention registrations. (see MPEP § 201 for types of patent applications, MPEP § 1401 for reissue patents, MPEP § 901.06(d)) for Defensive Publications, and MPEP Chapter 1100 for Statutory Invention Registrations)

United States Patent Classification System (USPC) - The patent classification system formerly used by the USPTO to classify and organize patent applications and granted patents in the United States. USPC comprises classes  and subclasses within each class; classes are numbers (except those for design patents, which have a “D” prefix, and those for plant patents, which are “PLT”), and subclasses are alphanumeric characters that may include a decimal portion. All U.S. patents and U.S. Patent Application Publications published after December 31, 2014 no longer receive classifications within the USPC.  (see MPEP §§ 902 and 903 and https://www.uspto.gov/patents/search/classification-standards-and-development for more information)

USPTO - The United States Patent and Trademark Office — the federal agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks (see USPTO, About Us website, https://www.uspto.gov/about-us).

Utility Patent – A utility patent may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new, useful, and nonobvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. (MPEP § 201)