Patent Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Patent, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Patent?

It refers to the documentary grant of rights on use, selling and making of the invention by the inventor solely. The inventor has the right to sue or exclude anyone who breaches such patents right. The legal document of patents include entire knowhow of how the invention is made and how its used. It also states the rights of the inventors.

History and Definition of Patent

The term "patent" has its origins in medieval times when monarchs would grant exclusive rights to tradespeople to manufacture and sell certain goods. Over time, the concept of patenting evolved to include granting a specific inventor the exclusive rights to make, use, and sell their invention for a set period of time. Patents are now the primary means by which inventors can protect their intellectual property.

In the United States, the patent system is governed by federal law and is administered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). To obtain a patent, an inventor must submit a detailed application to the USPTO that includes a description of the invention, any drawings or diagrams, and a claim outlining the specific aspects of the invention that the inventor wishes to patent.

Examples of Patent

  1. Company X has developed a new type of solar panel that is significantly more efficient than other panels on the market. They apply for a patent to protect their invention and prevent others from manufacturing or selling the same type of panel.

  2. A pharmaceutical company invents a new drug that can cure a previously untreatable disease. They obtain a patent to protect their invention and to recoup the significant costs of research and development.

  3. A tech startup develops a new smartphone app that uses a unique algorithm to match users with potential romantic partners. They apply for a patent to prevent competitors from copying their idea.

Related Terms

  1. Trademark - a symbol or word used to represent a company or product, and which can be legally protected.

  2. Copyright - the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, and display a work of art, music, literature, or other creative material.

  3. Trade secret - confidential information (such as a process, formula, or design) that gives a business a competitive advantage and is legally protected from theft or disclosure.

  4. Intellectual property - a category of legal rights that includes patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets, and which protect unique creations of the human mind.