- "Patent" means "open" or "disclosed"; its antonym is "latent" which means hidden or not disclosed. In return for disclosing an invention to the public, an inventor is awarded a twenty year legal monopoly, measured from the filing date of the patent application. The patent grants the patent owner the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, or offering to sell the invention throughout the U.S., or importing the invention into the U.S., and if the invention is a process, the right to exclude others from using, selling, or offering to sale throughout the U.S., or importing into the U.S., products made by that process. 35 U.S.C. 154.
A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the Patent and Trademark Office. The term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. US patent grants are effective only within the US, US territories, and US possessions.
The right conferred by the patent grant is, in the language of the statute and of the grant itself, “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or “importing” the invention into the United States. What is granted is not the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention.
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