Skip to main content
European Commission logo
IP Helpdesk

IP Glossary


Is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value. It may be used to mark digital copyrights in a way that is both immutable and timestamped.

Certification Mark

(also called guarantee mark) is a trademark capable of distinguishing goods or services which have been certified by the owner as meeting certain requirements for certification. Unlike collective marks no membership to an association is necessary and all that is required is compliance with the standards in respect of material, mode of manufacture, quality or other characteristics set by the owner of the mark. A certification mark may not be owned by a natural or legal person currently engaged in the supply of goods or services which the trademark seeks to certify.


A practice of intentional imitation of a genuine article and selling it under a genuine article’s brand name without the brand owner’s authorization with the intent to take advantage of the superior value of the imitated product.

Designation of Origin

Products with a protected designation of origin (PDO) owe their quality or characteristics to the geographical environment, including its natural and human factors. These products must always be produced, processed and prepared in the specific geographical region from which they take their name.

Geographical Indications (GIs)

An indication which identifies a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a regional locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

Handicraft and Traditional Culture expressions (TCEs)

Traditional cultural expressions (TCEs), also called "expressions of folklore", may include music, dance, art, designs, names, signs and symbols, performances, ceremonies, architectural forms, handicrafts and narratives, or many other artistic or cultural expressions.


A violation or infraction of the terms of an agreement, encroachment, trespass, or disregard of others' rights. Intellectual property infringement will refer to a breach of rights resulting from a patent, copyright, database right, performer right, design, trade mark, etc.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs)

Are private legal rights that protect the creation of the human mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. They are commonly divided into two categories:  Industrial Property Rights (e.g. patents, trade marks, industrial designs, geographical indications) and Copyright and Related rights (e.g. rights of the authors/creators and those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programmes).

Madrid System

Is an international system, managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), for obtaining and maintaining trade mark protection in multiple countries with a single application, in one language and under payment of one set of fees.

Traditional Knowledge

Traditional knowledge (TK) is knowledge, know-how, skills and practices that are developed, sustained and passed on from generation to generation within a community, often forming part of its cultural or spiritual identity.