What is a patent?
A: A patent is a form of intellectual property.
A patent gives its owner the right to do what?
A: Exclude others from making, using, selling, and importing an
invention for a limited period of
time, usually twenty years.
The patent rights are granted in exchange for what?
A: An enabling public disclosure of the invention.
People who are employed to do research are often obligated by their employment contracts to assign inventions to whom?
A: Their employer.
In most countries patent rights fall under civil
law and the patent holder needs to do what in order to enforce their rights?
A: Sue someone infringing the patent.
In some industries patents are an essential form of competitive advantage; in others they are what?
The procedure for granting patents, requirements placed on the patentee, and the extent of the exclusive rights vary widely between what?
A: Countries according to national laws and international agreements.
Typically, however, a granted patent application must include one or more claims that do what?
A: Define the invention.
A patent may include many claims, each of which defines what?
A: A specific property right.
These claims must meet relevant patentability requirements, such as what?
A: Novelty, usefulness, and non-obviousness.
Under the World Trade Organization's (WTO) TRIPS Agreement, patents should be available in WTO member states for any invention, in all fields of
technology, provided they are what?
A: New, involve an inventive step, and are capable of industrial application.
TRIPS also provides that the term of protection available should be a minimum of how long?
A: Twenty years.
Where does the word patent originate from?
A: The Latin patere, which means "to lay open" (i.e., to make available for public inspection).
It is a shortened version of the term letters patent, which was an open document or instrument issued by a monarch or government granting what?
A: Exclusive rights to a person, predating the modern patent system.
Similar grants included land patents, which were land grants by early state governments in the
USA, and printing patents, a precursor of what?
A: The modern copyright.
In modern usage, the term patent usually refers to the right granted to anyone who does what?
A: Invents something new, useful and non-obvious.
There is some evidence that some form of patent rights were recognized in Ancient Greece in what
A: The Greek city of Sybaris.
The first statutory patent system is generally regarded to be what?
A: The Venetian Patent Statute of 1474.
Patents were systematically granted in Venice as of what year?
They issued a decree by which new and inventive devices had to be communicated to the Republic in order to obtain what?
A: Legal protection against potential infringers.
The period of protection was how long?
A: 10 years.
As Venetians emigrated, they did what?
A: They sought similar patent protection in their new homes.
This led to what?
A: The diffusion of patent systems to other countries.
The English patent system evolved from its early medieval origins into the first modern patent system that recognized intellectual property in order to do what?
A: Stimulate invention; this was the crucial legal foundation upon which the Industrial Revolution could emerge and flourish.
By the 16th century, the English Crown would habitually do what?
A: Abuse the granting of letters patent for monopolies.
After public outcry, King James I of England (VI of Scotland) was forced to do what?
A: Revoke all existing monopolies and declare that they were only to be used for "projects of new invention".
This was incorporated into the Statute of Monopolies (1624) in which Parliament restricted the Crown's power explicitly so that the King could only do what?
A: Issue letters patent to the inventors or introducers of original inventions for a fixed number of years.
The Statute became the foundation for what?
A: Later developments in patent law in England and elsewhere.
James Puckle's 1718 early autocannon was one of the first inventions required to provide a what?
A: A specification for a patent.
Important developments in patent law emerged during the 18th century through a slow process of what?
A: Judicial interpretation of the law.
During the reign of Queen Anne, patent applications were required to supply a what?
A: A complete specification of the principles of operation of the invention for public access.
Legal battles around the 1796 patent taken out by James Watt for his steam engine, established what principles?
A: That patents could be issued for improvements of an already existing machine and that ideas or principles without specific practical application could also legally be patented.
Influenced by the philosophy of John Locke, the granting of patents began to be viewed as a form of what?
A: Intellectual property right, rather than simply the obtaining of economic privilege.
The English legal system became the foundation for patent law in countries with a what?
A: A common law heritage, including the United States, New Zealand and Australia.
In the Thirteen Colonies, inventors could obtain patents through what?
A: A petition to a given colony's legislature.
In 1641, Samuel Winslow was granted the first patent in North America by whom?
A: The Massachusetts General Court for a new process for making
When was the modern French patent system created?
A: During the Revolution in 1791.
The first Patent Act of the U.S. Congress was passed on what date?
A: April 10, 1790, titled "An Act to promote the progress of useful Arts".
When was the first patent was granted?
A: On July 31, 1790 to Samuel Hopkins for a method of producing potash (potassium carbonate).
A revised patent law was passed in 1793, and in 1836 what was passed?
A: A major revision to the patent law.
The 1836 law instituted what?
A: A significantly more rigorous application process, including the establishment of an examination system.
How many patents were granted between 1790 and 1836?
A: About ten thousand patents were granted.
By the Civil War how many patents had been granted?
A: About 80,000.
A patent does not give a right to do what?
A: Make or use or sell an invention.
Rather, a patent provides, from a legal standpoint, the right to do what?
A: Exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented invention for the term of the patent, which is usually 20 years from the filing date subject to the payment of maintenance fees.
A patent is a limited property right the government gives inventors in exchange for what?
A: Their agreement to share details of their inventions with the public.
Like any other property right, it may be what?
A: Sold, licensed, mortgaged, assigned or transferred, given away, or simply abandoned.
A patent, being an exclusionary right, does not necessarily give the patent owner what right?
A: To exploit the invention subject to the patent.
Patent infringement occurs when a third party does what?
A: Makes, uses, or sells a patented invention without authorization from the patentee.
Patents, however, are enforced on what basis?
A: A nation by nation basis.
The making of an item in China, for example, that would infringe a U.S. patent, would not constitute infringement under US patent law unless the item was what?
A: Imported into the US.
Patents can generally only be enforced through what?
A: Civil lawsuits.