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A Patent is a legal right giving the patent owner the right to a monopoly in an invention, typically for a term of 20 years.  During the patent term, the owner can prevent other businesses from copying the invention.

General Information on Patents


Patent protection is to the protection of new and useful products (such as a new type of vacuum cleaner, a tool, or a pharmaceutical) or to a new method of doing things (such as extracting a metal from an ore, or treating a disease). 


To be patentable, an invention must be at least novel (new) and inventive (not just a routine manipulation of an existing product or process).  In order to preserve the novelty of your patent it is important to NOT disclose your invention to any third party before filing a patent application.


Patent rights must be actively pursued, with the process beginning with the filing of a patent application.  The application is assessed by an examiner at the patent office of the country in which protection is sought, and a decision is made whether or not the application will be accepted.  Various amendments can be made to the application in an effort to overcome any valid objections taken by the examiner. 


It is important to understand that there is no such creature as a “world patent”, or an “international patent”.  A PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) patent application is sometimes called an “international patent application”, however this terminology is somewhat misleading.  A PCT application is simply a method of retaining the right to file a patent application at a national patent office at a later time.  Ultimately, the subject matter described and claimed in a PCT application must be examined and granted separately by each national patent office. 






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