staple (stay-p[schwa]l).

1. A key commodity such as wool, leather, tin, lead, butter, or cheese (collectively termed the staple).

2. Hist. A town appointed by the Crown as an exclusive market for staple products. See STATUTE STAPLE.

3. Patents. An unpatented thing or material that is a component of a patented product or is used in a patented process, but also has other practical uses. ? Patentees may not gain control of the market for staples through tying agreements. Cf. NONSTAPLE.

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Carl, Chinese legal translator, specializes in translating legal documents pertaining to complex business disputes.