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Latin America - IP Glossary

Alphabetic list with the most essential and useful Intellectual Property terms with their definitions.

  • Active Intellectual Property Management

    A way of managing intangible assets which consists in the full integration of the company in a culture of innovation, which is implemented within the whole management process.

  • Appellation of Origin (AO)

    A special kind of geographical indication generally consisting of a geographical name or a traditional designation used on products, which have a specific quality, or characteristics that are essentially due to the geographical environment in which they are produced. Products certified with AOs, bear a qualitative and stronger connection between the product and the place of origin, determined by a set of natural factors (such as soil and climate), and by a set of human factors (know-how, production processes).

  • Arbitration

    Arbitration is a procedure in which a dispute is submitted, by agreement of the parties, to one or more arbitrators who make a binding decision on the dispute. In choosing arbitration, the parties opt for a private dispute resolution procedure instead of going to court. It is consensual, neutral and confidential. Parties choose the arbitrator and its decision is final and easy to enforce.

  • Basic Research

    Is the experimental or theoretical work that is primarily undertaken to acquire new knowledge about the basics of phenomena and observable facts, regardless of whether they have a specific application or use. 

  • Boolean operators

    Also known as logical operators, are words or symbols that allow connecting concepts or groups of terms to expand, limit or define the Trademark or Patent search faster. 

  • Branding

    To analyse and plan how to position the brand in the market. 

  • Certification mark

    A Trademark which represents that a product or service complies with certain standards or technical specifications, particularly those regarding quality, type, material and methodology used.

  • Claim

    Part of a Patent application or specification. Defines the matter for which protection is sought in terms of technical features.

  • Closed code/ Closed source

    This means that the computer programme code is hidden, i.e. there are no possibilities to be modified. In general, an escrow agreement is performed so that it is available for the client. 

  • Coexistence agreements

    Agreements in which the two different IPR's holders defines the use and scope of each IPR. 

  • Collective mark

    Used to identify the goods and/or services of members of a specific entity. 

  • Copyright

    Copyright is the exclusive legal right granted to the author of a literary, musical, artistic or scientific work to publish, reproduce, sell or distribute said work or to authorise a third party to do so. The protection granted by Copyright covers the tangible expression of the ideas. Therefore, ideas or concepts themselves are not protected.

  • Counterfeit

    The imitation of a genuine article with the intention of defrauding and making a profit from it.

  • Cybersquatting

    It is the action of registering as a Domain Name, a Trademark's name of other person that is already registered. The term is frequently used to describe many different forms of bad faith. The common example of Cybersquatting is adding a generic term to a registered Trademak.

  • Dependent patent

    A Patent, which needs a prior license of an earlier Patent in order to be used and commercialised. 

  • Development

    Is systematic work, focused on existing knowledge gained from research and / or experience, that leads to the production of new materials, products or devices; to the implementation of new processes, systems and services, or to substantially improve already existing ones.

  • Domain Name

    Are the human-friendly forms of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. They constitute a system of translation of IP address (numbers) into words.

  • Due diligence

    Refers to the evaluation of an asset or a set of assets in order to get reliable knowledge about their status.

  • Economic rights

    Economic rights, derived from the property of a copyrighted work, grant the author the power to make available to the public or to exploit his/her work, and to authorise the use, adaptation, and translation of the work, among others.

  • Ex officio/ ex parte

    Ex officio prosecution implies that is the public prosecutor who, without any previous private claim, decides to start the proceedings against an offender, whereas in case of ex parte prosecution it is the injured party who starts the proceedings.

  • FDI

    Foreign Direct Investment. Is the investment of another country made by any natural or legal person -public institutions and companies, private companies, etc. In the target country, this inflow of investment may occur by either starting an undertaking or by expanding operations of an existing business by establishing a subsidiary in that country. According to the OECD, FDI aims at exercising influence on the acquired or invested undertaking; the requirement for the parent company is that it must own at least 10% of the subsidiary. 

  • FOSS

    Acronym that means Free and Open Source Software, in English. It is a software linked by a license that allows users the study, modification and improvement of its design through the availability of the source code.

  • Franchise

    Arrangement where one party (the franchisor) grants to another party (the franchisee) the right to use its trademark or trade name as well as certain business systems and processes to produce and market a good or service according to certain specifications.


    (Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) The term FRAND refers to the obligation of the owner of a Patent, which is part of a Standard, to grant non-exclusive licenses to anyone who applies for it. The conditions of said license must be fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory. Determination of whether a license follows FRAND principles is assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

  • General Public License - GNU GPL

    It is a set of particular distribution clauses that permit third parties to publish programmes under copyleft. The GNU Project uses these licenses on most of the programmes they distribute.

  • Geographical Indication (GI)

    It is a name or sign used on certain products with the aim of identifying their specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country). The GI indicates that the product possesses certain qualities, is made in accordance with specific methods, or enjoys a certain reputation due to its geographical origin.

  • Grace period

    The grace period is a period of time before the filing date of a patent/utility model/design application during which public disclosure of an invention (under certain conditions) is allowed without affecting the validity of a subsequent patent/utility model/design application, provided that a complete application is filed within 6 or 12 months of the disclosure.

  • Gross up clause

    Is a clause concluded in international agreements, by means of which each party covers the taxes that must be paid in their respective countries, even when the counterpart is the one who is supposed to pay them. Therefore, if there is an agreement between a domiciled company and a non-domiciled one, this clause must be included; thus, the domiciled company commits to paying the income taxes in its own country. 

  • Grossing up

    A practice consisting in deducting the required taxes from net gain estimated by adding the respective taxes. Thus, the estimated net gain must be divided by a given factor (1 - Taxes x Estimated Net Gain) which results in the gross gain from which the required taxes are deducted. The estimated net gain is only applicable to the cases provided under the income tax law. If the company issues invoices and the client deducts the required taxes from the total amount of the invoice, the company providing the technology will receive a lower amount than the amount invoiced, so this will affect its total income. Then, the additional amount – i.e. the grossing up, must be added to the total amount of the invoices, so that after the deduction, the value agreed is obtained. Source: Art. 145 Decreto 1344/98.

  • Import regulations

    A set of legal rules that regulate the entry of imported goods and services in the country. It includes general regulations (general import policy, licensing, contingencies, goods subject to customs fees, prohibited or suspended imports) and specific regulations (technical standards, packaging, labelling, trademarks and patents). 

  • Industrial design

    Compositions of lines, colours or any three-dimensional form that give a special appearance to a product or handicraft. They refer to the ornamental or aesthetic aspects of a useful article. Industrial Designs are applied to a wide variety of industrial products and handicrafts. The holder of a registered Industrial Design has exclusive rights against unauthorised copy or imitation of the design by third parties. Industrial Design registrations are valid for a limited period. The term of protection is usually 15 years for most jurisdictions.

  • Influencer

    In marketing, an influencer is a person who has recognition and can directly influence the customer's decisions and opinions of the targetted market. For these reasons, some marketing campaigns are designed especially for them.

  • Intellectual Capital

    All production factors of intangible nature integrated across the business activity. Some of them can be materialised in Intellectual Property Rights, while the remaining ones are part of the business goodwill.

  • Intellectual Property (IP)

    This term refers to the property of creations of the human mind. In a broad sense, it includes inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images and designs used in commerce, among others. IP is divided into two categories: Industrial Property and Copyright.

  • International Nice Classification

    It is a system used to classify goods and services for the purposes of the registration of trademarks. It was established by the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks of 1957, a multilateral treaty administered by the WIPO. This classification is commonly referred to as the Nice Classification. This agreement is open to the States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. 

  • International Vienna Classification

    It is an international classification system used to classify the figurative elements of marks. The complete title of the Classification is International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks.

  • IPR enforcement

    The use of legal actions, remedies, measures and procedures against the infringement of any IPR. This includes, among others, stopping unauthorized use, deterring future infringements or obtaining recovery for damages resulting from the infringing act.


    Stands for «Knowledge Process Outsourcing» and «Innovation Process Outsourcing». It refers to operations, generally knowledge transfers in offshore outsourcing by means of a regulatory framework agreement. These are the latest outsourcing agreements. 

  • Licensing

    Licensing is a contract between two parties, licensee and licensor, where the later authorizes the former to use a protected Intellectual Property Right in exchange of a royalty, while the licensor keeps the IPR ownership.

  • Mediation

    It is an Alternative Dispute Resolution mean, in which the parties of a controversy agree to solve their dispute by means of negotiation under the supervision of a Mediator. The main difference with arbitration is that the Mediator does not impose the final solution but facilitates to reach an agreement.

  • Moral rights

    Moral rights are personal and non-transferrable rights of the author, including the right to be recognized as author, the right to decide to publish the work and the right to the integrity of the work.

  • Naming

    Opposition: administrative mechanism in which a third party opposes the grant of a patent or a trademark on the grounds of his/her prior right.

  • Non - disclosure agreements (NDA)

    Agreements whose main objective is keeping secret and undisclosed some information between two parties, or includes confidentiality clauses in a employee contract. Penalty clauses are also included for cases of breach of confidentiality.

  • Novelty

    It is one of the basic requirements established in most of the Latin American countries for the registration of Patents, Utility Models and Industrial Designs. Novelty means that the invention, creation or design does not exist anywhere else in the world. There has not been a publication, disclosure, commercialization, use, presentation or prior Patent/Utility Model/Industrial Design application regarding the invention or design. The law prevents certain exceptions that do not affect the novelty, e.g. illegal or unauthorized disclosure of the invention within a year before the Patent application. 

  • Open code/ Open source

    Open source/code software means that it is distributed under a license that allows its use, change and redistribution. The core requirement to be considered to fall in this category is that its source code should be available. It allows studying how the program works and modifying it in order to improve or adapt it to a specific purpose. 

  • Open Innovation

    Innovation strategy in which companies cross their internal organizational boundaries and cooperate with external professionals to carry forward their projects and do R&D.

  • Patent

    A set of exclusive rights granted by law to applicants for inventions that are new, inventive and industrially applicable.

  • Piracy

    Refers to the reproduction and distribution of copies of copyright-protected material, or also the communication to the public and making available of such material on online communication networks, without the authorisation of the owner(s) whose authorisation is required by law. 

  • Plagiarism

    The act of misappropriating the literary composition of another author, or excerpts, ideas, or passages therefrom, and passing the material off as one’s own creation.

  • Plant Breeder's Right

    It is a sui generis protection system in Argentina that protects the rights of Plant Breeders (that is, farmers and growers) on new types and qualities of seeds granting them the ownership and exclusive rights to exploit their new plant varieties. These measures are aimed to promote efficient production and commercialisation of seeds.

  • Power of Attorney (PoA)

    A document which entitles a legal or natural person to act on behalf of another person.

  • Preliminary contract

    Preliminary contracts are agreements generally signed by the parties before concluding definitive agreements. They are instruments that help parties draft, review and finally agree the terms and conditions of a future definitive agreement, such as a licence or a partnership agreement.

  • Preliminary injunction

    Temporary measure that the court adopts in a fast-track procedure when there are special circumstances that could lead to irreversible damage. 

  • Registration certificate

    Document certifying that a IPR has been granted. 

  • Research

    Planned investigation which purpose is the creation of new knowledge and a greater understanding in the fields of science and technology.

  • Research and Development (R&D)

    Creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge related to humans culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.

  • Right of priority

    Whenever a person from one of the countries party to the Paris Convention files a national application for an IP right (except for Copyright) in any of the 176 signatory countries, the date on which the first application was filed is established as the date of priority, provided that it has been requested within twelve months of the first application.

  • Royalty

    A payment made from who wish to make use of an IPR, specially in Patents, copyrighted works, franchises or natural resources, to the legal owner of those rights. In most cases, royalties are designed to compensate the owner for the assets and are legally binding.

  • Second use patentability

    Refers to the possibility of patenting a different use of an already known object/product (e.g Use of a chemical composition as a medicine to treat heart diseases when the original patent claims its use as antibiotic). In general, in Europe it is possible to patent such second use subject to the fulfillment of the novelty and Inventive step requirements. 

  • Seizure of goods

    A measure by which the competent authority confiscates goods that likely infringe Intellectual Property Rights, for the purpose of using them as evidences of crime in a future Judgement.

  • State of the art

    The state of the art includes everything that has been disclosed or made publicly available before in any place of the world. That disclosure can be made by means of an oral or written description, exploitation, sale or commercialisation, or through any other media or information services, that allow a skilled person to carry out the invention.

  • SWOT analysis

    Strategic tool allowing a general overview of a project, a product, a market or an asset by showing its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

  • Technical Protection Measures (TPM)

    Also known as Digital Rights Management Systems refers to those devices or software that allow the rightholder to control or limit the use of his/her protected work.

  • Trade Secrets

    Any confidential business information which provides an enterprise a competitive advantage, may be considered as a trade secret. Trade secrets comprend manufacturing, industrial secrets or commercial secrets. The unauthorized use of such information by persons other than the holder is regarded as an unfair practice and a violation of the trade secret. Depending on the legal system, the protection of trade secrets forms part of the general concept of protection against unfair competition or is based on specific provisions or case law on the protection of confidential information.

  • Trademark

    A Trademark is a distinctive sign that distinguishes certain goods or services of one undertaking from those produced or provided by other undertakings. The holder of a registered trademark has the exclusive legal right to use said trademark in relation to the products or services for which it was registered.


    Means Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. It is a disposition contained in the agreement that establishes the World Trade Organization. Aim of TRIPS is the creation of basic principles regarding the government of IP rights in the market, minimizing distortions and impediments to international trade as well as promoting effective and adequate protection of Intellectual Property Rights.

  • Typosquatting

    Describes the practice of registering as domain name the most common mistyped written forms of reputed trademarks. or are examples of typosquatting. 

  • Unfair Competition

    Any industrial or commercial behaviour contrary to honest practices.

  • Utility model

    Like a Patent, a UM is a set of rights granted for an invention for a limited period of time, during which UM holders can commercially exploit their inventions on an exclusive basis. The terms and conditions for granting UMs are different from those for “traditional” Patents. For example, UMs are issued for a shorter duration (7 to 10 years) and, at most offices, UM applications are granted without substantive examination. The procedures for granting UM rights are governed by the rules and regulations of national IP offices, and rights are limited to the jurisdiction of the issuing authority.

  • Variation (of a design)

    Is a design that shares the same purpose and dominant distinctive characteristic of the main design.

  • Volatility

    A statistical measure of the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index. Volatility can either be measured by using the standard deviation or variance between returns from that same security or market index. Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security.

  • Withdrawal or abandonment

    Sanction imposed when the applicant does not comply with all the procedures on time (e.g. non-payment of the fees).