Term-of-Art

A word, acronym or phrase that in a particular technical or scientific field has a broadly recognized meaning. In the context of patents, terms of art will, in the process of claim construction, be given their ordinary and recognized meaning, unless the inventor advances another definition in the patent specification or in the course of the Prosecution. In reality, considerable dispute may rage over the precise understanding of a term-of-art in patent litigation.

Terms-of-Art may also be relevant in contract disputes, especially in technology contracts, where differences over the precise meaning of such terms may result in disputes. For all of the above reasons, it may be wise to ascertain that what a party regards as a term-of-art has a consistent meaning and that each party’s understanding of the term is consistent. See Lexicographer