A legally-enforced right to exclusively make, use, and sell an invention for a limited time.

A patent is an exclusive right granted by a government authority to an inventor, allowing them to prevent others from commercially making, using, importing, or selling their novel invention for a specified period, usually 20 years from the filing date. It is an instrumental form of intellectual property protection that incentivizes innovation and disclosure of new inventions to the public.

An invention must meet specific criteria to be eligible for a patent—it must be new, non-obvious, and useful. Before a patent is issued, the patent office thoroughly examines the invention to ensure these requirements are met. The patent gives its owner the legal means to pursue monetary damages or injunctive relief against any party that infringes upon their exclusive rights without permission.

Patents promote economic growth by allowing inventors to profit from their innovative work and initiatives. However, the temporary monopoly comes at the cost of publicly disclosing the technical details of how the invention works when the patent application is published. This disclosure enables further research, improvements, and the eventual entry of the invention into the public domain after the patent term expires.

Patents, in their various forms, play a pivotal role in safeguarding companies’ investments in research and development (R&D), bolstering their competitive edge, facilitating technology licensing, and augmenting their market worth.

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