Patent Meaning

What is Patent:

A patent is an exclusive right of commercial exploitation for a specified period of time, which is granted by the State to the inventor of a product in exchange for its public disclosure.

Part of the principle that the inventor or inventors have the right to apply for the patent in justification of their effort and contribution to society. It follows, therefore, that for a patent to be granted, the invention must be original, novel and of common benefit.

A patent also implies a negative right. This means that the patent holder has the right to legally prevent the manufacture, sale and commercial use of his product by third parties.

Consequently, patent holders can license third parties to exploit or use their inventions, provided that certain prerogatives are met.

Each country has specific laws that define the terms and conditions under which patents are granted. Some laws allow patents to be renewable.

Origin of patents

As we know them, patents were created with the purpose of stimulating creativity and invention at the service of social progress, in exchange for guaranteeing the creator the protection of his economic interests for a certain time.

Patents first appeared in the Venice Statute of 1474 and were granted for only 10 years. They were not exactly the same as those of modern use, but still they allowed the economic protection of the inventor for the stipulated time.

In those days, patents not only protected inventions but also imports of new techniques that were beneficial to society. This not only resulted in the economic benefit of the State and the patent holders, but also created jobs associated with the development of said contributions.

With the advent of the industrial revolution in the second half of the 18th century, patents were revalued, which implied that the States developed specific laws.

Types of patents

Utility patents

Utility patents apply to all kinds of inventions intended for everyday use, be it domestic or industrial. Objects such as machines, technological devices, consumer products, tools, processes, among others, are the subject of utility patents.

Examples of utility patents are the following inventions: the telegraph, the light bulb, the electromagnetic motor, the mouse or mouse, toilet paper roll, etc.

Design patents

They are those patents that apply to the aesthetic elements that characterize the design of certain products. Unlike the previous one, this type of patent does not protect the function of the product, but its aesthetic or ornamental design, as long as it meets the conditions of being original and novel. For the same reason, the design patent can apply to jewelry, furniture, shoes, clothing, artifacts, prints, among others. Industrial design is one of the aspects protected by this type of patent.

See also:

  • Design.
  • Industrial design.

Plant patents

Plant patents are those that grant exclusive exploitation rights over seeds that have resulted from genetic intervention or cloning. This case deserves a special explanation due to its complexity.

Patents on plants have generated great controversy in recent years, since over time it has been shown that they hinder the work of small and medium-sized farmers, and hinder freedom of choice about the foods to grow, their varieties and strains.

For example, in some cases, abuse of plant patents has forced small farmers, by court ruling, to pay for the patented products of large agricultural corporations for life.

One of these products is transgenic seeds that do not reproduce naturally. In the short term, this implies the economic dependence of the small farmer on the seed company. In the long term, it implies the eventual disappearance of food in nature.

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