What Is a Patent and Why Apply for a Patent?
Congress shall have power … To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.
United States Constitution, Article I, § 8.
A US patent is a contract between the United States and the inventor(s) in which the owner is granted a limited monopoly to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing a patented invention into the United States a period of time during the term of the patent. In exchange for these exclusive rights, the inventor is required to disclose the full and complete details of the invention to the public. The theory behind the patent system is that if the public has access to complete inventive disclosures, it will develop new and better ways of solving the same problems.
Patent monopoly has some limitations. A patent does not give an owner the right to make, use, or sell an...