! Please enable JavaScript to view this site correctly.

! You are viewing this site on an outdated browser. Upgrade now to view this site correctly.


Like most areas of law, Intellectual Property can appear daunting and complex. There are a great many practice areas, subjects and procedures. The SH&P “A-Z” Intellectual Property glossary is a free and easy to use glossary of legal terms commonly used and associated with IP. We hope that it will help you better understand this topic. All of the entries include contact details for SH&P expert advisers. Alternatively, you can request a free, no obligation, IP Consultation and Review here if you require more information or have a particular issue you would like us to help you with.

The first US patent was granted in 1790 and by 1836 nearly 10,000 patents had been issued in the USA. Unfortunately, all of those patents were destroyed in December 1836 by a fire at the premises in Washington where they were being stored. While most of them were lost for good, it was possible to reconstruct about 2800 of the patents from records held by their inventors.

The reconstituted patents were given a number that either started or finished with the letter X. They are therefore referred to as “X Patents”. This distinguishes them from subsequently granted US patents.

Stay in the know with SH&P

We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter which includes company news and our views on recent IP related subjects and headlines