Patent is a right given by a government to an inventor for his invention, only if the invention can pass certain novelty tests by the governing examining office.
The right prevents others to make, use and sell the patented invention in the jurisdiction that the patent is given.
Incentive to innovate: The government has created this right to promote research and development and inventions. Without such a right, there will not be any incentive to go through costly process of research and development.
Incentive to share knowledge – Disclosure. In exchange for the protection, the inventor has to publish the details of its invention. This allows others to learn about the invention and perhaps promote other inventions.
Life of a patent is 20 years.
What is a patent – continue – Disclosure
The patent laws require DISCLOSURE of the structure of the invention, how to make and use it and the best mode of the invention. (35 U.S.C. § 112, first paragraph.)
Patent applications are typically PUBLISHED 18 months after filing and in any event upon issue.
An applicant is free to DISCLOSE the invention any time after the application is filed without jeopardizing patentability.
To make money through sales, licensing and royalty payments.
To prevent others to copy and sell your invention.
Attract funding for innovative projects.
Without IP many innovative projects would not be profitable because anyone who wanted could simply copy the results. New and emerging companies founded by researcher/entrepreneurs have driven the development of innovative products.
Protects small innovative firm.
Provides means for getting innovative products to the market for public benefit.
Commercial & public recognition of important technologies.
Stimulates economic development.
The public benefits when new products are developed.
Patent protection enables companies to take necessary financial risks.
Time limit: Patent prosecution can always be (and often is) abandoned – but cannot be (re)started when it’s too late and disclosures have been made.