Understand Key Terminology

Glossary of Terms

If you come across any unfamiliar language in this module, here's a glossary of key terms. 



Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)

Methods of settling disputes between parties which do not involve litigation in the courts. The rules and procedures are more flexible than those in courts which can sometimes result in a quicker and cheaper process for the parties. Disputes can be referred to ADR either through agreement between the parties or an ADR clause in a contract.

  • Arbitration: An independent third party individual acts as an "arbitrator" who decides the case. The decision is binding on the parties and the awards given are enforceable through the courts. 

  • Mediation: An independent third party individual acts as a "mediator" to help facilitate discussion and aid the parties in reaching a resolution to the dispute. The mediator acts as a negotiation enabler rather than a "judge", and does not issue a binding decision. However if the parties resolve their dispute and enter into a settlement agreement, that agreement will be legally binding.

Assigning /



The transfer of a right from one party to another.

A lawyer who specialises in drafting legal pleadings (documents setting out a legal case) and arguing cases before a court, arbitrator or mediator.

Cease and

desist letter

A letter sent to someone to demand that they stop an illegal activity (cease) and not restart it (desist). It can act as a warning that if the activity continues, legal action will be taken. This can be used for example, if an individual has infringed your trade mark.

Freedom to

operate searches

Searches aimed at determining whether an action such as commercialising a product can be done without infringing IP rights, such as patents belonging to others.


Patent attorney

Prior art

Trade mark


Watch notices

A lawyer who specialises in giving advice, preparing cases and instructing barristers to argue cases before a court, arbitrator or mediator.

A lawyer specialising in patent law whose duties include assisting clients with obtaining and filing patents, in addition to defending them against third parties who wish to invalidate them in opposition proceedings before patent offices (but not patent invalidation proceedings in courts – this is the role of solicitors and barristers). 

Any publicly available information from before the priority date of a patent, such as a description of a technology in an academic paper. If the prior art demonstrates that the invention claimed by a patent was already known or was obvious before the priority date, it can be used to invalidate that patent.

A lawyer specialising in trade mark and design law whose duties include assisting clients with registering their trade marks and designs, and protecting them against potential infringement. They can help clients choose, register, renew and correctly use their trade marks and designs.

Information about products subject to IP rights that is sent to customs authorities, in order to assist them in identifying products that infringe those IP rights so that they can alert the owner when infringement occurs.

This project was joint-funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Brain Injury MedTech Co-operative based at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University of Cambridge. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

Terms of Use

Copyright © 2018 Yarvie Ltd. 99 Park Street, London, England, W1K 7HA