A patent (/ˈpætənt/ or /ˈpeɪtənt/) is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time, in exchange for the public disclosure of the invention.
The procedure for granting patents, 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 that define the invention. These claims must meet relevant patentability requirements, such as novelty and non-obviousness. 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 invention, in all fields of technology, and the term of protection available should be a minimum of twenty years. In many countries, certain subject areas are excluded from patents, such as business methods and computer programs.
Famous quotes containing the word patent:
“This is the patent age of new inventions
For killing bodies, and for saving souls,
All propagated with the best intentions.”
—George Gordon Noel Byron (17881824)
“The cigar-box which the European calls a lift needs but to be compared with our elevators to be appreciated. The lift stops to reflect between floors. That is all right in a hearse, but not in elevators. The American elevator acts like the mans patent purgeit works”
—Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (18351910)
“There is a patent office at the seat of government of the universe, whose managers are as much interested in the dispersion of seeds as anybody at Washington can be, and their operations are infinitely more extensive and regular.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)