patent law

Supplemental Register

A secondary list of trademarks and service marks maintained by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The Supplemental Register provides limited trademark rights and benefits and consists of marks that do not qualify for the Principal Register, usually because they are nondistinctive and consumers do not associate these terms with a specific source. (In trademark terminology, they lack secondary meaning.) Descriptive marks, surnames, and marks consisting primarily of geographical terms are commonly placed on the Supplemental Register. (See also: secondary meaning, Principal Register)

statutory subject matter

A requirement for utility patent rights. To qualify, an invention must fit into at least one of five categories: compositions of matter (compounds such as a drug or glue); articles of manufacture (simple devices such as screwdrivers and rakes); machines (devices with moving parts, such as an auto engine); processes (a method of doing something such as an implant procedure); and new and useful improvements of any of the above categories.


The narrative portion of a patent application that describes the purpose, structure, and operation of the invention, as well as any relevant prior technology (prior art). The specification must provide enough information about the invention so that a person proficient in the field of invention can build and operate it.


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