Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Patent


Quick Summary of Patent

The legal right given to an inventor that allows them to control the use of their invention for a specified period of time.

Video Guide For Patent

What is the dictionary definition of Patent?

Dictionary Definition

A government authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.

  1. A declaration issued by a government agency declaring someone the inventor of a new invention and having the privilege of stopping others from making, using or selling the claimed invention; a letter patent.
  2. A specific grant of ownership of a piece of property; a land patent.

Full Definition of Patent

The term patent refers to the set of exclusive rights given to the inventor by the state for a particular period of time, usually 20 years, as a substitute for revealing the invention. A typical patent application must comprise one or multiple claims that define the invention and possess the properties of being new, inventive and industrially applicable or useful.

Different countries have their own rules and regulations with regard to the granting of patents. Depending on national laws and international arrangements, each country has its own procedure of granting patents, set of requirements to be fulfilled in by the patentee and the clauses of the exclusive rights granted on particular inventions.

There are certain jurisdictions where unique forms of patents are found. Details of such patents may be enumerated as below:

  • Industrial Design Rights – known as design patents
  • Utility models or Gebrauchsmuster – known as innovation patents or petty patents
  • Plant Breeders’ Rights – known as plant patents

Granting Patents

The chief objective of granting patents is to guarantee that anybody other than the inventor or his assignee is not involved in making, selling, using, importing or exporting the invention. However, certain subject areas, such as mental acts and business methods, are kept outside the domain of patent in some countries.

Usual Patents

Usual patents are those that are used most of the times. Common examples of usual patents are biological patents, chemical patents, business method patents and software patents. For that matter, any invention that is concerned with composition, manufacture or construction of a substance, an apparatus or an article may be patented. Various industrial processes are also being patented nowadays.

Implications Of Patents

As per patent laws, patent holders have exclusive rights to make, offer for purposes of sale, use, importing the patent for the duration of patent and sell the patent. This means that no one else is allowed to use the patented item for any of these purposes. Patents are normally provided by a government only when there is a complete disclosure of the particular invention.

US Patents

A legal monopoly, granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), for the use, manufacture and sale of an invention. Patents on useful devices, called utility patents, last for 20 years from the date the patent application was filed. Design patents last for 14 years from the date issued. And plant patents last for 17 years from the date issued.

Examples of Patent in a sentence

Once a patent on a drug expires, other companies have the right to develop generic versions.
Albert Einstein spent many years working in the Swiss Patent Office.

Patent FAQ's

What Is A Patent?

The exclusive right, granted by the government, to make use of an invention or process for a specific period of time, usually 14 years.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Patent. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. November 30, 2021
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Patent. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: November 30, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Patent. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Patent are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 26th November, 2021 | 1 Views.