A Patent is an exclusive privilege granted to an inventor to make, use or sell an original invention for a set number of years (e.g. in Canada, 17 years). Although typically there is no monopoly over a product or service because this is considered to economically harmful, however as a financial incentive to potential inventors, the government grants a temporary monopoly to that inventor through the issuance of a patent that grants this exclusive period of time for the inventor to profit from their invention.

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Government grant of exclusive rights to sell an item or to license its manufacture. U.S. Patents are effective for 17 years, at which point the exclusivity is void. Patents are usually granted to the designer/inventor of the item if the patent is applied for and approved before knowledge of the design becomes part of the public domain.

Duhaime Legal Dictionary

An exclusive privilege granted to an inventor to make, use or sale an invention for a set number of years.

Normally, no one company can retain a monopoly over a product or service because this is considered to economically harmful to society.

But as a financial incentive to potential inventors, the state grants a temporary but absolute monopoly, to that inventor through the issuance of a patent.

A person who is the registered owner of a patent can be referred to as a patentee.

The European Union describes a patenmt as a legal right:

"A patent is a legal title which protects a technical invention for a limited period. It gives the owner the right to prevent others from exploiting the invention in the countries for which it has been granted. All patents are published, so everyone can benefit from the information they contain."

Encyclopedia Britannica

A government grant to an inventor of the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention, usually for a limited period. Patents are granted for new and useful machines, manufactured products, and industrial processes and for significant improvements of existing ones. Patents also are granted for new chemical compounds, foods, and medicinal products, as well as for the processes used to produce them. In some countries patents can be granted even for new forms of plant or animal life developed through genetic engineering.


1) an official document conferring a right or privilege: "letters patent"

2) a: the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention or products made by an invented process that is granted to an inventor and his or her heirs or assigns for a term of years. Note: A patent may be granted for a process, act, or method that is new, useful, and not obvious, for a new use of a known process, machine, or composition of matter or material, as well as for an asexually reproduced distinct and new variety of plant (excluding one propagated from a tuber), and for any new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. Design patents are issued for a term of 14 years. Patents issuing on applications made after June 8, 1995, for basic or plant patents (excluding design patents) are for a term of 20 years from the date of application. An inventor can file a provisional patent application, which requires less documentation and lower fees than a regular application, before reducing the invention to practice. This allows the inventor to claim ``patent pending'' status for the invention and to establish an earlier filing date and priority of the invention. A regular patent application must be made within a year of the provisional application or it will expire. Patents are considered personal property and may be sold, assigned, or otherwise transferred. Under common law, if a patented invention or discovery is made while the inventor is working for a company, and is made on company time with company facilities and materials, the employer receives an irrevocable, nonassignable, nonexclusive, royalty-free license to use it. Often an employee is required contractually to assign his or her patent to the employer.

b: the writing securing such a right

c: a patented invention

3) an instrument making a conveyance of public lands Dictionary

1) adj. obvious. Used in such expressions as a "patent defect" in an appliance. 2) n. an exclusive right to the benefits of an invention or improvement granted by the U.S. Patent Office, for a specific period of time, on the basis that it is novel (not previously known or described in a publication), "non-obvious" (a form which anyone in the field of expertise could identify), and useful. There are three types of patents: a) "utility patent" which includes a process, a machine (mechanism with moving parts), manufactured products, and compounds or mixtures (such as chemical formulas); b) "design patent" which is a new, original and ornamental design for a manufactured article; and c) "plant patent" which is a new variety of a cultivated asexually reproduced plant. Example: Secretary of Agriculture and later Vice President Henry A. Wallace developed hybrid corn which made him rich for life. A utility or plant patent lasts 17 years and a design patent lasts 14 years, but all types require payment of "maintenance" fees payable beginning 3 1/2 years after the issuance to keep them up. Patent law specialists can make a search of patents to determine if the proposed invention is truly unique, and if apparently so, can file an application, including detailed drawing and specifications. While awaiting issuance of the patent, products or designs should be marked "patent pending" or "pat. pending." Upon receiving the patent the product can be marked with the word "patent" and the number designated by the Patent Office. The rights can be transferred provided the assignment is signed and notarized to create a record or "licensed" for use. Manufacture of a product upon which there is an existing patent is "patent infringement" which can result in a lawsuit against the infringer with substantial damages granted. 3) n. a nearly obsolete expression for a grant of public land by the government to an individual.

Lect Law Library

A legal document issued by the United States to the inventor. The inventor, as the owner of the patent, has the right to exclude any other person from making, using, or selling the invention covered by the patent anywhere in the United States for 17 years from the date the patent was issued; A document issued to an inventor by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Contains a detailed description of what the invention is and how to make or use it and provides rights against infringors.

A legal right that excludes anyone other than the patent holder from using an invention for a set period of time.


A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state (national government) to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for a public disclosure of an invention.

The procedure for granting patents, the requirements placed on the patentee, and the extent of the exclusive rights vary widely between countries according to national laws and international agreements. Typically, however, a patent application must include one or more claims defining the invention which must be new, inventive, and useful or industrially applicable. In many countries, certain subject areas are excluded from patents, such as business methods and mental acts. The exclusive right granted to a patentee in most countries is the right to prevent others from making, using, selling, or distributing the patented invention without permission.

Under the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, patents should be available in WTO member states for any inventions, in all fields of technology, and the term of protection available should be the minimum twenty years. Different types of patents may have varying patent terms (i.e., durations).