What Are Patents and How Do They Work?


A patent is a property right for an innovation given by a government to an inventor. A United States patent offers an inventor rights to exclude others from making, utilizing, marketing, or offering their invention in the United States or importing it into the United States, for a statutory timeframe (generally 20 years), in exchange for public disclosure of the creation at the expiration of the patent.

There are three kinds of patents:

  1. Utility patents
  • Utility patents may be provided to any person who creates or uncovers any helpful and brand-new process, device, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any brand-new and helpful improvement thereof.
  • Utility applications can be Provisional or Non-Provisional
  1. Design patents
  • Design patents may be provided to anyone who creates a new, initial, and decorative design for an article of manufacture.
  1. Plant patents
  • Plant patents might be granted to any individual who designs or discovers and asexually recreates any unique and brand-new variety of plant.

Patents are given for new, useful and non-obvious creations for a duration of 20 years from the filing date of a patent application. U.S. patents are issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).

The right conferred by the patent grant is “the right to exclude others from making, making use of, marketing, or selling” the innovation in the United States or “importing” the development into the United States for a restricted time in exchange for public disclosure of the creation when the patent is provided.

U.S. patent grants are effective just within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S. possessions.

The USPTO Inventors Assistance Center (IAC) provides patent details and services to the general public. The IAC is staffed by previous Supervisory Patent Examiners and seasoned Patent Examiners who address basic concerns regarding patent examining policy and treatment. Learn how to patent an idea.

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