Patents protect inventions, such as products, processes,
compositions of matter, or improvements to products, processes, or compositions of matter.
Patents provide the owner with the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell, or importing the patented invention. Patent protection is limited in duration. The term of a patent can vary depending upon certain events that occur during the prosecution of a patent. The basic term of a United States patent ends twenty years after an application is filed.
Patents are issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and are enforced in federal courts.
There are three different types of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents.
Utility patents protect “useful” inventions. Utility patents can be used to protect products, processes, compositions of matter, and improvements thereof.
Design patents protect ornamental features of a product.
Plant patents protect certain types of plants.