patents

What is a patent?

A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Generally, the term of a new patent is 20 years from the date the patent application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. U.S. patents are effective only within the United States.

The right conferred by the patent is “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or “importing” the invention into the United States. A patent does not grant the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but only the right to exclude others from doing so.

There are three types of patents:

1) Utility patents, which may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement to these things;

2) Design patents, which may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; and

3) Plant patents, which may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.