all the patent documents filed in different countries that are associated with a single invention. The size of the family refers to the number of distinct patents held. Comparisons of patent families avoid multiple counting of a single invention that is patented in several countries.
the same invention disclosed by a common inventor(s) and patented in more than one country.
a set of either patent applications or publications taken in multiple countries to protect a single invention by a common inventor(s) and then patented in more than one country. A first application is made in one country — the priority — and is then extended to other offices.