Intellectual Property Terms Glossary
Legalese, the language used in legal matters, is often a labyrinth of confusion, so it helps to know the definitions of key phrases to understand your case.
First, a little background. Why can’t they just speak in plain English? One reason is that the U.S. inherited its legal system from England, and that system developed throughout the centuries and retained Latin wording from the Roman occupation (43-409 a.d.), then French was added after the Norman occupation of 1066 a.d. For example, Latin phrases you may hear are ad hominem (“at the person”–attacking the person’s character rather than his argument), affadavit (“he has sworn”–a formal statement of fact), or de facto (“in fact”–true in practice but not officially endorsed). French phrases include:voir dire (“see them say”–direct questioning of a juror or a witness before trial) or force majeure (“superior force”–an event or occurrence completely out of the hands of the parties, such as an earthquake or natural catastrophe.)
If you are involved in a copyright, trademark or patent matter, there are many more terms you need to know…