Patents vary in comparison to copyrights and trademarks, though the three are sometimes believed to be the same thing. Patents are a way that helps inventors guarantee they will profit from their creations. But knowing exactly what a patent meaning is and how patents work means that inventors will be fully informed about their legal position when owning one.

What is a patent?

A simple patent definition is that a patent is the right to owning an idea or invention. Patents can grant a person or company rights to the process or design of a product or service. Those rights are exclusive, and no person or entity outside the company that owns the patent may use the product, service, or intellectual property without permission. 

Patents do not run indefinitely. A person or company that owns a patent must apply for another patent after a certain amount of time - according to the laws of the country in which their patent was granted. For many countries, like the US and the UK for example, a patent lasts 20 years. 

There are three types of patents: a utility patent, a design patent, and a plant patent. A utility patent provides a patent owner with ownership over a process, product, machine, or material. Design patents protect the unique appearance or design feature of a product. Plant patents protect new plant varieties or hybrids and any of the asexual reproduction processes in those plants. 

How to get a patent, and how does a patent work?

Knowing how to patent an idea or invention is key to ensuring you legally protect your work. A patent begins its life with an application from a person to a country’s relevant organization. For example, in the US, it will be the Patent and Trademark Office. The application must be for an invention that is totally different from anything patented before or at least an improved version of a previous innovation or design. 

Once granted a patent, the patent holder can authorize the usage of their patented invention from that point forward. Without that authorization, the invention cannot be used by anyone else - or any other company. In this way, a patent holder licenses out their invention for broader usage and can profit from their invention. 

A patent holder can sell the right to the invention too. Doing so then transfers ownership to the person or entity who bought it. They then have the right to use the invention how they see fit or provide authorization for wider usage too. 

Advantages of a patent 

Advantages of a patent, and even a provisional patent, are that the inventor of that patent is usually the person that can profit from their hard work. Without it, they waive the right to own the property that they created. Additionally, it gives a patent owner a specific amount of time to use that invention, too, meaning that competitors have to find a way to better your invention without your help. In doing so, it also prevents competitors from profiting from copying your idea or manufacturing your product. Instead, you can either profit from your invention by licensing your patent or having a monopoly on the invention itself.

Contractbook and patent

Contractbook can help those with a patent by providing templates for licensing agreements. It means that regardless of what your invention is, you can quickly and easily license out your idea or invention to those who wish to use it for their own financial gain.

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