Brought to you by Denver patent attorney Mark Trenner…

A patent is a property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor for this purpose only- “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.

what is a patent
It is commonly thought that a patent is a ‘government grant’ that gives the patent owner exclusive rights to a process, design, plant or new invention for a set period of time.”  In fact, a patent is not an exclusive right to anything at all. What it does is exclude someone else from: Making, copying, using, selling, offering to sell, or importing in to the U.S.A. any infringing articles or processes, from the time the patent is published to the time it lapses.

Therefore, just because you are granted a patent, it does not allow you any certain right to create your own invention, particularly if parts of your invention have already been patented by others.

The public policy essential to patents is that inventors should have the chance to gain an advantage from their invention, to the exclusion of others or by licensing to others, in exchange for publishing a complete description of the invention and how it was created. By doing this, inventive know how is expressed willingly, and cannot be abused directly by others without the risk of penalties. In order to take advantage of someone else’s patented invention, you would need to find your own way to do the same thing, but at least the process for creativity has started.

What is a patent?  Part 2 of 3