A patent is an exclusive right granted by the State for the protection of an invention, which provides exclusive rights to use and exploit its invention and prevent third parties from using it without their consent. If you choose not to exploit the patent, you can sell it or assign the rights to another company to market it under license. Patents are the most widespread means of protecting the rights of inventors.
The patent consists of the rights granted to an inventor by a State and that allows the inventor to prevent third parties from exploiting their invention by commercial means during a limited period, which is usually 20 years.
The theory underlying the system is that the financial benefits derived from the exploitation of the patent and the disclosure of the resulting inventions for public dissemination and use will promote innovation and raise the technical level of the industry of a country, the obvious benefits to the trade.
Indeed, by granting an exclusive right, the patent is an incentive to the extent that it offers the inventor recognition for his or her creative activity and material remuneration for the commercial invention. These incentives, in turn, promote innovation, which also contribute to improving the quality of human life. In return for obtaining special rights, the inventor has the obligation to disclose to the public the patented invention, so that the third parties can benefit from the new knowledge and thus contribute to technological development.
Hence, the disclosure of the invention constitutes an essential criterion in patent granting procedures. Everything has been thought of in the patent system, so that the interests of inventors and the interests of the general public are taken into account on an equal footing.
It is wrong to believe that patents apply only to complex physical and chemical processes and products, or that they are only useful to large companies. In general, the patents can be obtained for any domain of technology, from paperclips to complex pharmaceuticals. There are thousands of patents for everyday products such as filters, glass bottles, fabrics or bicycles.
This exclusive right of the patent is given for a restricted period of time, which is usually 20 years from the date of the submission of the application, provided that the holder pays the annual maintenance fees, and is valid only in the country where it is requested for the protection.
In the term ‘patent’, it is also implicit that the document is issued by the corresponding governmental authority in that area.