Reviewed by Sep 30, 2020| Updated on
A patent is a form of intellectual property that grants its proprietor the legal right to exclude others from making, importing, using, and selling an invention for a limited period, in return for publishing an invention for the public disclosure.
In another way, a patent is an exclusive right given to an invention which is a product or process which generally provides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technological solution to a problem. A patent application must reveal technical information on the invention to the public to secure it.
Although there is some evidence that in Ancient Greece, in the Greek city of Sybaris, some form of patent rights were recognized, the first statutory patent system is generally considered to be the Venetian Patent Statute of 1474.
From the year 1474, patents were routinely granted in Venice where they issued a law requiring innovative and creative inventions to be transmitted to the Republic to gain legal immunity since future infringers. When Venetians emigrated, their new homes applied for similar patent protection. This has contributed to the expansion of patent systems to other countries.
Patent rights come under common law in most countries, and the patent holder can sue anyone who violates the patent to enforce his or her rights. A patent is an important form of competitive advantage in some industries; in the others, it is irrelevant.
By principle, the proprietor of the patent has the sole right to restrict or prohibit the commercial use of the patented invention by others. In other words, patent protection means the invention cannot be produced, used, transmitted, manufactured, or sold commercially by anyone else without the permission of the patent proprietor. The protection shall be granted for a limited period, usually 20 years, from the application's filing date.