A patent, granted by a government, gives the creator of an invention the sole right to make, use, and sell that invention for a set period of time, usually 20 years.
Patent protection is granted on notable technological advances and many commercially significant developments.
For a patent to be granted, you need to file an application (ideally through a registered patent attorney) before you disclose your invention publicly.
Examples of patentable inventions include:
- Novel pharmaceutical compositions
- Newly devised methods of producing oil from shale
- Solar collector elements coated with novel solar-selective coatings
- Intruder alarms incorporating novel electronic circuitry
- Power steering systems
These all incorporate an essential common ingredient – an inventive step beyond the simple application of standard textbook-type knowledge.
It’s important that you take steps to secure protection early in any development project, as any disclosure or sale (or offer for sale) may prejudice the granting of a valid patent.
A standard patent is not granted until an application has been examined and seen to meet statutory requirements.
However, your invention can be exploited commercially any time after the patent application has been filed. Examples of this are said to have ‘patents pending’.
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