Carl Icahn Time cover

Carl Icahn knows what he wants, and he usually gets it. These days, what Carl Icahn wants is Apple to initiate a $150 billion buyback program of its stock. Although Tim Cook hasn’t clearly expressed it, he’s been reluctant to follow Icahn’s request, which led him to file a precatory proposal.

A precatory proposal is a fancy term which, in clear English means a shareholder proposal for a stock buyback program to be voted on at Apple’s next annual shareholder meeting…

TIME has more details:

Icahn tells TIME he filed a shareholder proposal with Apple on Nov. 26, three days before the deadline for measures to be voted on at the company’s next annual shareholders meeting. His measure calls for a share buyback and is in the form of a precatory proposal, which means that even if a majority of Apple shareholders approved, it would not be binding on the company’s management. That’s the typical approach for shareholder resolutions, even those coming from investors who are at odds with management.

In short, a precatory proposal is here to convey hope rather than a legal obligation. Although technically non-binding, a precatory proposal, even if voted, wouldn’t oblige Apple to do anything.