Letters Patent – Definition

Cite this article as:"Letters Patent – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated September 15, 2019, last accessed October 21, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/letters-patent-definition/.

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Letters Patent Definition

A letter of patent refers to a legal instrument granting special rights or monopoly to an individual or entity like a corporation. The document is in the form of a letter issued by a government or a monarch. It is an official legal document that gives an individual the right to make, sell, and use something he or she has invented. It is a document giving an entity or individual special rights to his or her invention.

A Little More on What is Letters Patent

Letters patent is always open for public viewing, which means that it is never sealed. Patent viewing takes place either at the trademark office or patent, giving an individual or entity innovation rights for a limited period. In most cases, the rights’ period lasts for a maximum of 20 years. The federal government regard patent as a license which gives holder rights to innovation, design, or inventions.

What is Eligible for Patent

The following things might be eligible for patent:

  • Machines
  • Processes
  • Methods of manufacturing
  • Composition matter
  • Improvements in innovations

Generally, a design patent is applicable to new, original, or ornamental designs for a manufactured item. A new manufacturing plant that has been invented and appears unique from the current ones is eligible “plant patent.”

Things not Eligible for Patent

However, there are some things that do not qualify for a patent. Some of these things include the following:

  • Abstract ideas
  • Laws of nature
  • Mental processes
  • Certain algorithms
  • Physical phenomena

In the United States, applicants are not allowed to use the word “patent pending,” especially where the patent application is pending. The person or entity whose patent is approved is required to use either of the following in the item’s name:

  • U.S. patent
  • Patented

It enables the public to know that the item is indeed patented.

Patents are sometimes tricky to navigate, especially if you are not conversant with its laws and regulations. To be successful in your patent application, it is best that you seek professional assistance.

Note that it is a federal offense to forge a letter patent given by the U.S. president. In fact, it may lead to 10 years imprisonment or pay a significant amount of money as a fine.

References for “Letters Patent”


https://www.investopedia.com › Investing › Financial Analysis




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