Generally speaking the term ‘Patent’ means a document or license issued by government authority conferring a right or title for a particular period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention. A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. It refers to a grant of some privilege, property or authority made by the Government or the Sovereign of the country to one or more individuals. It is a monopoly right granted to a person who has invented a new and useful article or an improvement of an existing article or a new process of making an article. A patent provides protection for the invention to the owner of the patent.
Patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the patent owner’s consent. These patent rights are usually enforced in a court, which, in most systems, holds the authority to stop patent infringement. Conversely, a court can also declare a patent invalid upon a successful challenge by a third party.
Patents provide incentives to individuals by offering them recognition for their creativity and material reward for their marketable inventions. These incentives encourage innovation, which assures that the quality of human life is continuously enhanced.
The patent owner has the right, for a period limited to the duration of the patent term, which is normally 20 years from the filing date, to stop others from making, using or selling the invention without his permission or to let others use the invention under agreed terms. After the expiry of the duration of patent, anybody can make use of that invention.
So finally, we can say that patent is a document that issued upon application by a government office which describes an invention and creates a legal situation in which the patented invention can normally only manufactured, used, sold, or imported with the authorization of the owner of the patent. “Invention” means a solution to a specific problem in the field of technology. An invention may relate to a product or a process.
In some countries, inventions are also protectable through registration under the name of “utility model” or “short-term patent.” The requirements are somewhat less strict than for patents. For example, in respect of inventive step and in comparison with patents the fees are lower, and the duration of protection is shorter, but otherwise the rights under the utility model or short-term patent are similar.