Intellectual Property Law Definitions

IP Law Definitions

If you have a wonderful idea, have invented something, are an author, or consider yourself to be an original creator in some way, intellectual property rights may affect you. Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind, and intellectual property rights are exclusive rights to those creations. Within intellectual property law, there are a number of terms that may be confusing to the layperson. Here are eight must-know intellectual property, or IP, law definitions:


A trademark is a unique symbol of some kind that is used to identify a product or service and differentiate it from others. A trademark can be a word or phrase, a logo, a sound, a color, or other unique symbol.


A copyright is a type of legal protection for original works of art. Types of works that can be protected by copyright laws include literary works, music, paintings, and sculptures.


A patent provides exclusive rights for an invention or discovery of a new, useful, and non-obvious design, process, machine, or an improvement of the above.


An infringement occurs when there is an unauthorized production, use, sale, marketing of, or importation of anything that has been copyrighted, patented, or trademarked.


An injunction is a court order that requires a person who has committed an infringement to cease all infringing activity immediately. Injunctions can be issued when the owner of a trademark, copyright, or patent files a claim against a party who is using or selling a protected product without authorization.

Notice of Allowance

For patent applications, if the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) approves an application, they will send the applicant a Notice of Allowance. A Notice of Allowance means that the invention meets the requirements to be patented, and that an issue fee is due within three months’ time.  For trademark applications, if the USPTO approves an intent-to-use application, they will send the applicant a Notice of Allowance, which means the applicant has six months to show the USPTO that the mark is in use so that it can be registered.

Office Action

Also known as an Official Letter or/and an Examiner’s Action, an Office Action is a letter to a patent applicant from the USPTO. An Office Action rejects a patent application, and describes in detail why it cannot be approved at the current time.

Intellectual Property Attorney

An intellectual property attorney is a legal professional who specializes in patent and trademark law. Such are the lawyers at the offices of Altman & Martin, who specialize in aiding individuals and small companies in the acquisition, protection, licensing, and enforcement of their patent and trademarks.

Don’t risk having your intellectual property stolen! To speak with the Boston-area attorneys at Altman & Martin today, request a free consultation online or call us at 617-523-3515 today.