What is a Patent?

A patent is an IP right covering new inventions. Patents generally have a life span of 20 years from the date of the patent application. Patents cover concepts, NOT what something looks like. By having a patent, the owner can take action to prevent others from using his invention.

The justification for having a patent system is to encourage inventors to disclose their inventions, and how they work, in exchange for a limited monopoly over the invention itself. After the patent has expired, the inventions are free for all to use which, in turn, could aid improvements and developments in that industry.

Examples of well known products covered by patents which have now expired are the Dyson vacuum cleaner and the Workmate workbench.

Last update on 28.09.11 by the ACID Team.

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