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Commercial Glossary


A relationship by which the agent facilitates contracts between the principal and a third party (the customer) by soliciting orders from or concluding contracts with a third party on behalf of the principal. An agent usually benefits from the relationship by receiving a commission from the supplier. An agent does not contract with customers in his own right and he therefore generally has no liability to them.

Copyright exists in literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works. The primary purpose of copyright law is to protect authors who have created originals works, that is, works where the author has expended independent effort to create the work.

Design Right

Design right protects the appearance of a purely functional product. Examples of items protected by design right are functional articles with no aesthetic appeal such as agricultural tools. Different parts of the same article may or may not be protected. It is a right to prevent copying which does not require registration.


A person who buys goods from the supplier and resells them to customers in his own territory. He will usually have no authority to create a contract between the supplier and the customer.

Force Majeure

The happening of events outside the control of the parties, for example, natural disasters or the outbreak of hostilities. It is usual for a contract to include that such events will not make the defaulting party liable if they prevent it from performing its obligations.


A standardised set of international trade terms published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). These terms allocate responsibility and liability between sellers and buyers situated in different countries.


A patent is a negative right that permits an inventor to stop third parties from using the invention. Patent protection does not arise automatically and the filing of an application for a patent, followed by its grant, is necessary to obtain such protection.

Reservation of Title

A contractual provision by which, in its simplest form, the ownership of the goods supplied under a contract does not transfer until the buyer has paid the full purchase price to the seller. Also known as a Romalpa clause


A sign which distinguishes the goods (or services) of one business from those of another. The sign could be, for example, a word or phrase, logo, picture, or shape. The main function of a trade mark is to enable customers to recognise the goods or services as originating from a particular business. Trade marks can be registered nationally or EU-wide or can exist as unregistered trademarks.

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