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The intent of this dictionary was to produce a broad listing of terms, which are commonly used in trade negotiations and especially within the context of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) with a view to providing an information tool for the public at large. The dictionary is presented in the four official languages of the FTAA: English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

The compilation does not attempt to present the entire universe of terms used nor does it seek to prejudge or to affect in any way definitions or approaches currently proposed by any country in any trade negotiation. In fact, many of the definitions included in the publicly-available Draft FTAA Agreement which are still the subject of difficult debates have been excluded from this dictionary. The definitions are based on widely available source material including other trade agreements.

An alphabetical listing of the terms is included to facilitate the use of the dictionary. The terms and their definitions are presented by general negotiating theme found in the FTAA and in other trade negotiations.

An electronic version of this document can be found on the following websites: IADB, OAS,  and ECLAC.

Author Natural person who creates a literary or artistic work.
Breeder’s rights The essence of plant breeding is the discovery or creation of genetic variation in a plant species and the selection from within that variation of plants with desirable traits that can be inherited in a stable fashion. The plant breeders' final selections of superior plants will form the basis of one or more plant varieties. Plant breeders use all available technology both to create genetic variation and to select from within that variation.
Biological diversity Means the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.
Biological resources Include genetic resources, organisms or parts thereof, populations, or any other biotic component of ecosystems with actual or potential use or value for humanity.
Compulsory license The TRIPS Agreement allows Members to authorize use by third parties (compulsory licenses) or for public non-commercial purposes (government use) without the authorization of the patent owner. The TRIPS Agreement contains a number of conditions that have to be met in order to safeguard the legitimate interests of the patent owner. The main conditions are that, as a general rule, an effort must first have been made to obtain a voluntary license on reasonable commercial terms and conditions and that the remuneration paid to the right holder shall be adequate in the circumstances of each case, taking into account the economic value of the license.
Contractual license A permission to use an intellectual property rights under defined conditions.
Copyright Copyright is a legal term describing rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works. The original creators of works protected by copyright, and their heirs, have certain basic rights. They hold the exclusive right to use or authorize others to use the work on agreed terms. Copyright and its related rights are essential to human creativity, by giving creators incentives in the form of recognition and fair economic rewards. Under this system of rights, creators are assured that their works can be disseminated without fear of unauthorized copying or piracy. This in turn helps increase access to and enhances the enjoyment of culture, knowledge, and entertainment all over the world.
Counterfeit trademark goods Means any goods, including packaging, bearing without authorization a trademark which is identical to the trademark validly registered in respect of such goods, or which cannot be distinguished in its essential aspects from such a trademark, and which thereby infringes the rights of the owner of the trademark in question under the law of the country of importation.
Domain name Domain name is the address of a web site that is intended to be easily identifiable and easy to remember, such as yahoo.com. These user-friendly addresses for websites help connect computers - and people - on the Internet. Because they are easy to remember and use, domain names have become business identifiers and, increasingly, even trademarks themselves, such as amazon.com. By using existing trademarks for domain names - sony.com, for example - businesses attract potential customers to their websites.
Economic rights Many creative works protected by copyright require mass distribution, communication and financial investment for their dissemination (for example, publications, sound recordings and films); hence, creators often sell the rights to their works to individuals or companies best able to market the works in return for payment. These payments are often made dependent on the actual use of the work, and are then referred to as royalties. These economic rights have a time limit, according to the relevant WIPO treaties, of 50 years after the creator's death. National law may establish longer time-limits. This limit enables both creators and their heirs to benefit financially for a reasonable period of time.
Expressions of Folklore Means productions consisting of characteristic elements of the traditional artistic heritage developed and maintained by a community or by individuals reflecting the traditional artistic expectations of such a community, in particular: (i) verbal expressions, such as folk tales, folk poetry and riddles; (ii) musical expressions, such as folk songs and instrumental music; (iii) expressions by actions, such as folk dances, plays and artistic forms or rituals; whether or not reduced to a material form; and (iv) tangible expressions, such as: (a) productions of folk art, in particular, drawings, paintings, carvings, sculptures, pottery, terracotta, mosaic, woodwork, metalware, jewelry, basket weaving, needlework, textiles, carpets, costumes; (b) musical instruments; (c) architectural forms.
Geographical indication A geographical indication is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that place of origin. Most commonly, a geographical indication consists of the name of the place of origin of the goods. Agricultural products typically have qualities that derive from their place of production and are influenced by specific local factors, such as climate and soil. Whether a sign functions as a geographical indication is a matter of national law and consumer perception (for example, “Champagne”, “Tequila” or “Roquefort”).
Genetic material Means any material of plant, animal, microbial or other origin containing functional units of heredity.
Genetic resources Means genetic material of actual or potential value.
Industrial designs An industrial design is the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article. The design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or surface of an article, or of two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or color. Industrial designs are applied to a wide variety of products of industry and handicraft: from technical and medical instruments to watches, jewelry, and other luxury items; from housewares and electrical appliances to vehicles and architectural structures; from textile designs to leisure goods. To be protected under most national laws, an industrial design must appeal to the eye. This means that an industrial design is primarily of an aesthetic nature, and does not protect any technical features of the article to which it is applied.
Intellectual property rights Intellectual property rights are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. They usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.
Layout-design/ topography of integrated circuits The three-dimensional disposition of the elements and of some or all of the interconnections of an integrated circuit.
Literary and artistic works The kinds of works covered by copyright include: literary works such as novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspapers and computer programs; databases; films, musical compositions, and choreography; artistic works such as paintings, drawings, photographs and sculpture; architecture; and advertisements, maps and technical drawings.
Moral rights Copyright protection also includes moral rights, which involve the right to claim authorship of a work, and the right to oppose changes to it that could harm the creator's reputation.
Related Rights The field of rights related to copyright has rapidly developed over the last 50 years. These related rights grew up around copyrighted works, and provide similar, although often more limited and of shorter duration, rights to: (i) performing artists (such as actors and musicians) in their performances; (ii) producers of sound recordings (for example, cassette recordings and compact discs) in their recordings; (iii) broadcasting organizations in their radio and television programs.
Patent A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. Patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the patent owner's consent. Patents provide incentives to individuals by offering them recognition for their creativity and material reward for their marketable inventions. All patent owners are obliged, in return for patent protection, to publicly disclose information on their invention in order to enrich the total body of technical knowledge in the world.
Performer Actors, singers, musicians, dancers, and other persons who act, sing, deliver, declaim, play in, interpret, or otherwise perform literary or artistic works or expressions of folklore.
Pirated copyright goods Means any goods which are copies made without the consent of the right holder or person duly authorized by the right holder in the country of production and which are made directly or indirectly from an article where the making of that copy would have constituted an infringement of a copyright or a related right under the law of the country of importation.
Priority Any person who has duly filed an application for a patent, or for the registration of a utility model, or of an industrial design, or of a trademark, in one of the countries of the Paris Union has the right of priority to file in any of the other countries of the Union before the expiration of a period of twelve months for patents and utility models, and six months for industrial designs and trademarks. These periods start from the date of filing of the first application. Consequently, any subsequent filing in any of the other countries of the Union before the expiration of the periods referred to above shall not be invalidated by reason of any acts accomplished in the interval, in particular, another filing, the publication or exploitation of the invention, the putting on sale of copies of the design, or the use of the mark, and such acts cannot give rise to any third-party right or any right of personal possession.
Producer of phonograms Means the person, or the legal entity, who or which takes the initiative and has the responsibility for the first fixation of the sounds of a performance or other sounds, or the representations of sounds; “phonogram” means the fixation of the sounds of a performance or of other sounds, or of a representation of sounds, other than in the form of a fixation incorporated in a cinematographic or other audiovisual work.
Trademark A trademark is a distinctive sign which identifies certain goods or services as those produced or provided by a specific person or enterprise. Its origin dates back to ancient times, when craftsmen reproduced their signatures, or “marks” on their artistic or utilitarian products. Over the years these marks evolved into today's system of trademark registration and protection. The system helps consumers identify and purchase a product or service because its nature and quality, indicated by its unique trademark, meets their needs.
Traditional Knowledge Refers to tradition-based literary, artistic or scientific works; performances; inventions; scientific discoveries; designs; marks, names and symbols; undisclosed information; and all other tradition-based innovations and creations resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields. “Tradition­based” refers to knowledge systems, creations, innovations and cultural expressions which: have generally been transmitted from generation to generation; are generally regarded as pertaining to a particular people or its territory; and, are constantly evolving in response to a changing environment. Categories of traditional knowledge could include: agricultural knowledge; scientific knowledge; technical knowledge; ecological knowledge; medicinal knowledge, including related medicines and remedies; biodiversity-related knowledge.
Unfair competition Any act contrary to honest commercial practices. Acts contrary to honest commercial practices mean at least practices such as breach of contract, breach of confidence and inducement to breach, and includes the acquisition of undisclosed information by third parties who knew, or were grossly negligent in failing to know, that such practices were involved in the acquisition.
Utility model Patents or certificate granted in the mechanical field in many developing countries that differ from inventions because they require a lower threshold of technological progress (inventive step) and are granted for a shorter term of protection.
Well-known mark Highly reputed mark that receives special protection due to its reputation that extends beyond a specific market, sector or country.
Thresholds In most national legislations, the determination of the type of tendering applicable to a specific procurement is based on the value of the procurement. Thresholds often differ for goods, services and public works. Some international agreements use thresholds to determine procurement subject to the provisions of the Agreement.