Overview of Patents - Explained
What are Patents?
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What are patents or patent rights?
A patent is a form of intellectual property protection that covers products, processes, designs, and other creations (collectively invention). A patent conveys a right to exclude others from making, using, selling, or importing the covered invention. Patent rights are basically rights to exclude others. They protect against copies or unauthorized reproductions of the patented item. Patent rights are the subject of federal law, and states may not grant or otherwise regulate patents. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a federal agency that administers the patent system. It reviews and grants petitions to secure patent rights.
Note: Registering a patent with the US Customs and Border Protection Agency may help prevent infringement, such as bringing counterfeit goods into the US.
Next Article: What are the Types of Patent? Back to: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
What is the Purpose of Patent Law?
Consistent with other forms of intellectual property, the purpose or objectives of the patent system is to record and disclose patents to the public. The trade off for public disclosure of the invention process is protection of limited rights in the property. The effect is to promote or provide an incentive for creation and innovation. The belief is that innovation is a benefit to society. Providing an individual the right to exclude others from reproducing her creation for commercial purposes allows her to capitalize on her creation without competition. Patent rights last for a statutory period of time (14 or 20 years). Contrary to popular belief, patent rights do not confer the right to make, use, or sell a patented creation. These rights are subject to any laws, regulations, ordinances, etc., that pertain to and may limit rights to use this type of creation (such as environmental regulations, licensing, antitrust rules, consumer regulations, private contracts, etc.). Further, the patent holder may not use her patent in a manner that infringes on the rights of others.
Note: Patent protection does not stop a valid purchaser of the item from using the item. Further, it does not stop that individual from reselling the item. It does, however, stop the individual from manufacturing the item, selling the copied item, or (in some instances) using the unauthorized copy. Patent rights provide a specific period of protection that varies depending upon the type of patent. After the expiration of that time, anyone can use, produce, or sell the patented subject-matter (i.e., it enters the public domain).
Example: BigPharm Corp buys the patent rights to a new drug. It spends over $1 Billion on research and development. Once the clinical trials are complete and the drug is FDA approved, BigPharm releases the drug to the public. Other drug companies are prevented from reproducing the drug and selling it for a 20-year period. In many industries (such as pharmaceuticals) it is imperative to allow creators the ability to recuperate their costs before allowing competitors to capitalize by copying their creation.
How do you feel about the government granting individuals the exclusive right to make, use, or sell their invention? Why do you think patent rights only allow the ability to exclude others?
Mandy is a metal worker. She builds a new machine for bending metal. If Mandy is considering starting a business manufacturing and selling the machine, what are the advantages of pursuing patent protection?
- Intellectual Property Law (Intro)
- What is Intellectual Property?
- What is the purpose in granting intellectual property rights?
- What is required to capture or secure intellectual property rights?
- California Labor Code 2870
- What are Trade Secrets?
- Non-Disclosure Agreement
- Patents or patent rights?
- Letters Patent
- Primary types of patents?
- What Can I Patent?
- Requirements for a valid patent?
- Can your Invention be Patented?
- What is a Patentability Search?
- When is a Patentability Search Necessary?
- Why is a Patent Search Important?
- Requirements for a design patent?
- How to Do a Design Patent Search
- Cost of a Design Patent
- Requirements for a utility patent?
- Why Do You Need a Utility Patent?
- Plant Patent?
- Process for securing patent rights?
- Patent Search
- Basics of Doing a Patent Search
- 5 Rules for Effective Patent Searches
- What are Patent Databases?
- Tools for Patent Searches
- DIY Patent Search
- Understanding Patent Keyword Searches
- Patent Searches for Software
- Doing a European Patent Search
- WIPO Patent Search
- Cost of Doing a Patent Search
- Patent Search vs Patent Analysis
- Structure of a Patent
- Patent Filing Date
- Patent Attorney
- Do You Need a Patent Lawyer?
- Applying for Design patent
- Provisional Patent?
- Applying for Provisional Patent
- Doing a Provisional Patent Search
- How to Draw Up a Provisional Patent
- Converting a Provisional Patent to a Non-Provisional Patent
- What Does Patent Pending Mean?
- Process for enforcing ones patent rights?
- Patent Infringement
- Patent Troll
- What is a Trademark?
- Types of trademark?
- Requirements to capture trademark rights?
- Distinctiveness requirement for a Trademark?
- Determining whether a trademark is sufficient distinctive?
- What is Federal Trademark Registration?
- Conducting Trademark Search
- Should I Conduct a Trademark Search?
- Trademark Application
- Drawing a Trademark
- Filing for federal trademark registration?
- Protections of trademark rights under state law?
- Primary reasons for rejecting a trademark application?
- Common trademark designations?
- Trademark infringement?
- Enforce trademark rights?
- Demonstrate infringement of a trademark?
What is a copyright?
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA Explained
- Basics of Copyright Law
- What are the rights of a holder of a copyright?
- What are the elements of a copyright?
- How long is the period of copyright protection?
- What is the process for registering a copyright?
- Who may claim and secure copyright protection?
- What are infringement and the process for enforcing a copyright?
- What are the defenses available against a claim of copyright infringement?
- Public Domain Works
- Licensing Agreement
- End User License Agreement
- What is Fair Use of copyright?
- What is the First Sale Doctrine?
- What international protections exist for intellectual property rights?
- Paris Convention