A patent refers to a legal protection provided by a nation’s patent offices. It protects the intangible idea or information from unauthorized use by third parties. Once issued with its patent, it becomes the property of the state that granted it. If infringements are found, the state can seek legal action against the person who has illegally used the patent.
A patent provides inventors the legal rights to their inventions. However, not all patents are granted equal rights. There are different classifications based on the novelty, utility, design and ornamental qualities of the invention. An invention is either unique or novelty, process, composition, or procedure.
If an invention is considered new, it has to be obvious to those who have knowledge of the relevant subject matter. Even if an invention is not clearly patentable, the patent law allows for some forms of inventive discoveries. In addition, the process of inventive discovery need not involve an invention but may still qualify under the patent law as a filing system for patentable ideas.
The idea should have a practical application and should not be unproductive. It also needs to have substantial value apart from the novelty it brings. A significant amount of resources must be devoted to the invention before it can be patented. While many people will see an invention as an enormous benefit, others will consider it as a waste of time and money. A patent can only be issued for an invention once it is capable of being implemented in a reasonable manner.
In other cases, inventions are protected by what are called “abbreviated inventions”. These are inventions which are capable of being recited in a patent without going through the full patenting process. In most cases, abbreviated inventions are designed to be useful tools that have already been invented but have been adapted for use in a new way. In the future, other tools that have been invented may be protected by patents.
In other cases, a person may patent their invention even if it was protected by one or more preexisting patents. This is usually referred to as “aggravating invention”. For example, if a watch already existed but was protected by another patent, it would be considered “previous art”. If an invention infringes on an existing patent, the patent office will often require that an invention first be proven to infringe before it receives a patent. An invention that causes infringement is often more difficult to protect than an invention that simply involves changes to an existing device.