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What is a patent?

Published 01.11.08 at 09:30

A patent is a monopoly right granted by the government to an inventor, who has used her skill to invent something new. For a limited period, the inventor can stop others from making, using or selling the invention where his permission has not been obtained.

The government grants patents since there are clear benefits to society from doing so. The trade-off between a patent owner and the government is that the patent owner discloses knowledge, which is then publicly available.

In the short term, the public gain knowledge of technological developments and in the long term they will be able to freely use this information once the patent ceases.

For more info see our factsheet on patents.

Content provided by Briffa. Photo credit: Lepiaf.Geo

 

Please note that this article discusses the legal position in the UK at the time of publication. It provides general information only but is not to be regarded as legal advice. You must take advice from a specialist lawyer in relation to your specific circumstances. Further, you should seek additional legal advice when dealing with parties based in other parts of the world or works originating from other parts of the world as the legal position may vary.

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