What is a Patent?

What is a patent?

A patent is a property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted. (Source: USPTO Patent FAQs)

US Patent Process Overview

  1. Determine the type of Intellectual Property protection that you need
  2. Determine if your invention is patentable
  3. What kind of patent do you need?
  4. Get ready to apply
  5. Prepare and submit your initial application
  6. Work with your examiner
  7. Receive your approval
  8. Maintain your patent

Source: USPTO

18-Month Publication of Patent Applications (Country-specific)

A patent application, in confidential status, is not the patent itself. The inventor is not granted the patent just by submitting an application. However, once a patent application gets published (not approved), the application goes public and the inventor receives provisional protection.

  • In the early days, patent applications took a long time to be approved. For example, it takes 38 years for Lemelson to be granted the patent (from 1954 to 1992). Hyatt takes 21 years to get its patent (from 1969 to 1990).
  • The 18-month publication aims to address non-published pending patent applications, or the so-called “Submarine Patents” as the Lemelson and Hyatt cases demonstrate. It makes patent applications public and grants provisional protection.


Search for Patents

Patents are public information; everyone can search for patents online.

Examples of patents:

Patent Ownership

The ownership of a patent can be complicated as it can be shared with multiple parties, internal or external.

This post is also added to the QOTD, CISSP PRACTICE QUESTIONS – 20200830.

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