The following alphabetical list of basic terms used in industrial property information and documentation—the glossary—has been compiled by the International Bureau of WIPO in order to assist those who are not yet familiar with the terminology in this area.
The glossary is not intended to be an exhaustive, detailed compilation of all terms used in industrial property information and documentation. It contains only terms which are used frequently in documents and publications on matters of industrial property information and documentation or which are of major importance for readers of such texts. As far as the International Patent Classification (IPC) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) are concerned, the glossary includes only several basic terms originating therefrom. For more details, the corresponding publications should be consulted (see definitions of the International Patent Classification and the Patent Cooperation Treaty).
Many of the concepts for which a general explanation has been attempted in this glossary are defined in the legislation of individual countries, and the laws of various countries may to an extent differ in their definitions. The descriptions given in this glossary should, therefore, not be considered as exact definitions, in the legal sense, of the subjects concerned, but as general indications of their main characteristics. The definitions are given without prejudice to how individual countries may interpret these terms. Legal terms without direct relation to industrial property information and documentation have not been included in the glossary.
The list of terms is followed by three appendices, containing additional information on abbreviations and acronyms often used, a survey of denominations used by industrial property offices for the various kinds of patent documents published by them and examples of patent documents illustrating different types of patent families.
For more detailed information on matters concerning industrial property information and documentation, it is recommended to consult the WIPO Handbook on Industrial Property Information and Documentation.