In the United States, patent applicants are inventors looking for exclusive power over an invention. A patent application reserves inventors the right to solely make, create, distribute, and sell their patented invention. Patent rights last for a twenty-year period. During this twenty-year period, patent law excludes others from using any aspect of the patented material. The United States government, through offering patents, offers the public knowledge of new developments and inventions. For the release of this information, patent owners enjoy a limited timeframe of property rights. All owners of property rights can do as they please with these items. In the same respect, patent owners can sell, transfer, license, or abandon their patent rights. For this and other reasons, the United States only grants individual inventors patents. The inventors are then free to license and assign the patent rights as they so choose. For example, inventors working for a corporation may assign patent rights to that company as part of their employment contract. The ability to assign, sell, or license a patent makes patent rights a highly liquid asset in commerce and business. Each individual inventor named in a patent is free to license the exclusive rights of the patent without the consent of the other individuals on the patent. In essence, the government grants each inventor an exclusive patent of his or her own.
Patent laws strictly define eligible entities for patent. Individuals must adhere to important guidelines when applying for a patent. The premise of a patent is the first guideline. The invention must prove “useful, new, and inventive,” or have an industrial application. The government grants patents to inventors creating new matter, machines, processes, article of manufacture, or any advancement on any of these items as well. The exclusive rights on these items can cause problems. In order to advance an already existing patented item, inventors must commit patent infringement. The courts address these cases. In the United States, judges review and rule on this type of complaint on a case-by-case basis. Litigation is strictly civil in nature concerning these matters. Injunctions and compensation are typical punishments for patent infringement.
Patent law is vast and confusing for individuals. A large number of legal concepts are involved with patent law. Patent law professionals are experts in working alongside patent laws, regulations, and concepts. Depending on the type of invention or innovation, inventors and their legal support must adhere to many forms of patent law and patent types. Seeking professional patent law help is advisable.