What is the main purpose of a patent?

The main purpose of a patent is to protect a unique and inventive method, process, or design. In the U.S., there are two types of patents: utility and design patents. Utility patents are issued for the invention of a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or a new and useful improvement thereof. Design patent are issued for a new, original, and ornamental design embodied in or applied to an article of manufacture. Patents do not protect products, processes, or designs that merely contain obvious and well-known ideas. For example, patentable subject matter might include a new industrial process for making a complicated microchip. An obvious method for filling a container or a simple combination of two existing items may not be patentable

What are the benefits of having a patent?

A patent grants the holder of the patent exclusive rights to the claimed invention and the ability to exclude others from using the invention for a set period of time. In reality, this means that the patent holder can profit from the invention, either by virtue of selling a product embodying the invention or through licensing the patent to third parties.

Does a patent really protect you?

The protection afforded by a patent depends on the ability of a patent holder to enforce it. In other words, the patent holder must be willing and able to enforce his or her rights in a court of law if someone else violates the patent (called patent infringement). The strength of a patent also depends on the legitimacy of the legal system in the country in which the patent was applied for.

How long is a patent good for?

What is a patent shelf life? A U.S. utility patent (which protects the creation of a new or improved—and useful—product, process, or machine) usually lasts for twenty years from the date of application. However, this can change depending on whether new patents are applied for during the life of the original patent. For example, a patent holder might make modifications to the original invention and apply for a new patent for that new modification, which would itself be good for an additional 20 years. A U.S. design patent (which protects the visual qualities of an item) usually lasts for fifteen years

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