The basic concept underlying patents is very simple. Patents allow the creator of certain kinds of inventions that contain new ideas to keep others from making commercial use of those ideas without the creator’s permission. This right of control over the idea lasts between 14 and 20 years, depending on the type of invention.
A patent is a document issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) that grants a monopoly for a limited period of time on the use and development of an invention which the PTO finds to qualify for patent protection.
Related terms: co-inventors; in-force patent; invention, defined; inventor, defined; patent, defined; patent attorneys; patent deed; patent owner; senior party in interference proceedings; shop rights.