Intellectual Property: Patents

Patent law provides rights to inventors and protects inventions. A patent is a grant of a right from the government in exchange for the disclosure by the inventor of the invention. The disclosure is in the form of an application for a patent filed with the government. Upon review of the patent application, and approval by the government, the patent owner is granted a patent. A patent can include a device, a machine, a process, a medical device, an industrial product, a system, an improvement or a combination of any of these.

A patent provides exclusive exclusionary rights to an inventor. This means an inventor, who has a patent, has the right to exclude others from making, selling, using or importing into the United States something which is covered by the patent. A patent can be very valuable because it means that anyone who wishes to make, use or sell a product which is covered by a patent must obtain permission from the patent owner. This permission is typically in the form of a license agreement which typically provides for the payment of a royalty to the patent owner in exchange for permission to make, use or sell the patented product.