Patent Glossary I

Patent Glossary I for the letter I. So what is infringement, inherency, an inventor?

Improvement Patent

A patent claiming an invention that is an improvement or modification of an invention claimed in a prior patent. In some instances, it means a patent that cannot be practiced without infringement of a prior patent.MPEP 2129.

Incorporation by Reference

To supplement the the disclosure of a patent application by making a specific statement in the application that other material is to be considered to be incorporated in the application. MPEP 608.01(p).


The opposite of definiteness. See Definiteness.

Indefinite Claim

A claim that fails to particulary point out the claimed invention. MPEP 706.03(d), MPEP 2171, MPEP 2173.

Indemnity from Suit

A situation in which one party has agreed to sue another party, e.g., for patent infringement.

Independent Claim

A patent claim that stands alone in that it does not depend from (contain the limitiations of) any other claim. MPEP 608.01(m).

Inducement to Infringe

An act that encourages another party to infringe a patent.

Information Disclosure Statement (IDS)

A list of all patents, publications and other information submitted by an applicant for patent to the USPTO in discharging his duty of disclosure or to ensure that the Examiner consders the information. MPEP 609.


To make, use or sell a patented invention in the jurisdiction and during the term of a patent.

Infringed Literally

A situation wherein an issued patent is infringed (practiced without a license to do so) by a product or process that has all of features of the invention claimed in the patent.


The practice of a claimed invention without a license to do so.

Infringement By Equivalents

Infringement in the situation that the infringing product or process does not have exactly the same features as the invention claimed in the patent but that any different feature performs the identical function specified for the claimed feature.

Infringement Under Doctrine of Equivalents

See Infringement By Equivalents.


Present in the essential character of something. MPEP 2173.05(v).


A writ granted by a court whereby one is required to do or to refrain from doing a specified act.

Intellectual Property

An intangible form of personal property. Patents, copyrights, trademarks, service marks, trade names and trade secrets are examples of intellectual property.


A priority contest in the USPTO to determine which of two or more parties was the first to invent commonly-claimed subject matter. MPEP 2300.01.

Intervening Rights

A defense to an allegation of infringement. Intervening rights exist when a patent is later reissued with broader claims because of inadvertent errors in claim instruction in the original patent. Any person who practiced the broadened claims prior to the reissue can continue. For such a person, infringement would result only if he or she practiced the surviving, narrower claims. MPEP 1460.


Ineffective or void under the law. A patent can be invalided if it was issued in error.


A solution to a technical problem (i.e., technology) that may or not be patentable.

Invention, Abandoned

See Abandonment of Invention.

Invention Disclosure

From a legal standpoint, a description of an invention that would enable a person skilled in the art to which the invention pertains to build and use the invention. Invention disclosure documents are used for a variety of legal and commercial purposes. See Disclosure.

Inventive Entity

The inventor(s). MPEP 2173.01, MPEP 804.03.


See Inventive Entity.

Inventor, Joint

A person who collaborates with another inventor in the conception of an invention. MPEP 605.07, MPEP 2137.01.


The condition of being an inventor under the law. MPEP 2137.01.


The grant of a patent by a patent office.

Issue Fee

The fee paid by an applicant a patent office prior to the granting of a patent. MPEP 1306.


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