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A patent is a type of
intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of ...
that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an
invention An invention is a unique or novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. The present English word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the for "new", "news", or ...

invention
for a limited period of years in exchange for publishing an enabling disclosure of the invention. In most countries, patent rights fall under
private law Private law is that part of a civil law Civil law may refer to: * Civil law (common law) Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. 1982. p. 2. In common law legal systems such as E ...
and the patent holder must sue someone infringing the patent in order to enforce their rights. In some industries patents are an essential form of
competitive advantage In business, a competitive advantage is the attribute that allows an organization to outperform its competitors. A competitive advantage may include access to natural resources , Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. ...
; in others they are irrelevant.WIPO Intellectual Property Handbook: Policy, Law and Use. Chapter 2: Fields of Intellectual Property Protection
WIPO 2008
The procedure for granting patents, requirements placed on the patentee, and the extent of the exclusive rights vary widely between countries according to national laws and international agreements. Typically, however, a patent application must include one or more claims that define the scope of protection that is being sought. A patent may include many claims, each of which defines a specific property right. These claims must meet various
patentability Within the context of a nation state, national or multilateralism, multilateral body of law, an invention is patentable if it meets the relevant legal conditions to be granted a patent. By extension, patentability also refers to the substantive co ...
requirements, which in the US include
novelty Novelty (derived from Latin word novus for "new") is the quality of being new, or following from that, of being striking, original or unusual. Novelty may be the shared experience of a new cultural phenomenon or the subjective perception of an indi ...
,
usefulness Within economics, the concept of utility is used to model worth or value. Its usage has evolved significantly over time. The term was introduced initially as a measure of pleasure or happiness within the theory of utilitarianism by moral philosop ...
, and
non-obviousness The inventive step and non-obviousness reflect a general patentability requirement present in most patent laws, according to which an invention should be sufficiently inventive—i.e., non-obvious—in order to be patented. In other words, "n ...
. Under the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations. Governments use the organization to establish, revise, and enforce the rules that govern international ...
's (WTO)
TRIPS Agreement The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental or ...
, patents should be available in WTO member states for any invention, in all fields of
technology Technology ("science of craft", from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. I ...

technology
, provided they are new, involve an inventive step, and are capable of industrial application. Nevertheless, there are variations on what is
patentable subject matter Patentable, statutory or patent-eligible subject matter is subject matter which is susceptible of patent NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a Title (property), title that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, us ...
from country to country, also among WTO member states. TRIPS also provides that the term of protection available should be a minimum of twenty years.


Definition

The word ''patent'' originates from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
''patere'', which means "to lay open" (i.e., to make available for public inspection). It is a shortened version of the term ''
letters patent Letters patent ( la, litterae patentes) ( always in the plural) are a type of legal instrument ''Legal instrument'' is a legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act acco ...
'', which was an open document or instrument issued by a monarch or government granting exclusive rights to a person, predating the modern patent system. Similar grants included
land patent A land patent is a form of letters patent File:1768 transfer of the University to Nancy.jpg, upLetters patent transferring a predecessor of the University of Lorraine to Nancy, France, Nancy in 1768 Letters patent ( la, litterae patentes) (pl ...
s, which were land grants by early state governments in the US, and
printing patentThe printing patent or printing privilege was a precursor of modern copyright. It was an exclusive right to print a work or a class of works. The earliest recorded printing privilege dates from 1469, giving John of Speyer a five-year monopoly on all ...
s, a precursor of modern
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
. In modern usage, the term ''patent'' usually refers to the right granted to anyone who invents something new, useful and non-obvious. A patent is often referred to as a form of
intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of ...
right, an expression which is also used to refer to
trademark A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-mark) is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. There are many types of intellectual pr ...

trademark
s and
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
s, and which has proponents and detractors (see also Intellectual property § The term "intellectual property"). Some other types of intellectual property rights are also called ''patents'' in some jurisdictions:
industrial design right An industrial design right is an intellectual property right that protects the visual design of objects that are not purely utilitarian. An industrial design consists of the creation of a shape, configuration or composition of pattern or color, or ...
s are called ''
design patent US design patent D48,160 for the original Coca-Cola bottle. In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in ...
s'' in the US,
plant breeders' rights Plant breeders' rights (PBR), also known as plant variety rights (PVR), are rights granted to the breeder of a new variety of plant that give the breeder exclusive control over the propagating material (including seed A seed is an embryoni ...
are sometimes called ''plant patents'', and
utility model A utility model is a patent-like intellectual property right to protect inventions. This type of right is available in many countries but, notably, not in the United States, United Kingdom or Canada. Although a utility model is similar to a patent ...
s and ''
GebrauchsmusterIn German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The ...
'' are sometimes called ''petty patents'' or ''innovation patents''. The additional qualification ''utility patent'' is sometimes used (primarily in the US) to distinguish the primary meaning from these other types of patents. Particular species of patents for inventions include
biological patent A biological patent is a patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the ...
s,
business method patent Business method patents are a class of patents which disclose and claim new methods of doing business. This includes new types of e-commerce, insurance, banking and tax compliance etc. Business method patents are a relatively new species of patent ...
s,
chemical patent A chemical patent, pharmaceutical patent or drug patent is a patent NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a Title (property), title that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a li ...
s and
software patent A software patent is a patent NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a Title (property), title that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of years in exchange fo ...
s.


History

Although there is some evidence that some form of patent rights was recognized in
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
in the Greek city of
Sybaris Sybaris ( grc, Σύβαρις; it, Sibari) was an important city of Magna Graecia Magna Graecia (, ; Latin meaning "Greater Greece", grc, Μεγάλη Ἑλλάς, ', it, Magna Grecia) was the name given by the Roman people, Romans to the c ...
,
Charles Anthon Charles Anthon (November 19, 1797 – July 29, 1867) was an American classical scholar. Life His father George Christian Anthon was a German-American medical doctor who served in the British Army The British Army is the principal Army, ...
, ''A Classical Dictionary: Containing An Account of the Principal Proper Names Mentioned in Ancient Authors, And Intended To Elucidate All The Important Points Connected With The Geography, History, Biography, Mythology, And Fine Arts Of The Greeks And Romans Together With An Account Of Coins, Weights, And Measures, With Tabular Values Of The Same'', Harper & Bros, 1841, page 1273.
the first statutory patent system is generally regarded to be the
Venetian Patent StatuteImage:Venetian_Patent_Statute_1474.png, 220px, The Venetian Patent Statute, enacted by the Senate of Venice in 1474, is widely accepted to be the basis for the earliest patent system in the world. The Venetian Patent Statute of March 19, 1474, establ ...
of 1474. However, recent historical research has suggested that the Venetian Patent Statute of 1474 was inspired by laws in the Kingdom of Jerusalem that granted monopolies to developers of novel silk-making techniques. Patents were systematically granted in
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...

Venice
as of 1474, where they issued a decree by which new and inventive devices had to be communicated to the
Republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

Republic
in order to obtain legal protection against potential infringers. The period of protection was 10 years. As Venetians emigrated, they sought similar patent protection in their new homes. This led to the diffusion of patent systems to other countries.M. Frumkin, "The Origin of Patents", Journal of the Patent Office Society, March 1945, Vol. XXVII, No. 3, pp 143 et Seq. The English patent system evolved from its early medieval origins into the first modern patent system that recognised intellectual property in order to stimulate invention; this was the crucial legal foundation upon which the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
could emerge and flourish. By the 16th century, the English
Crown '' File:서봉총 금관 금제드리개.jpg, The Seobongchong Golden Crown of Ancient Silla, which is 339th National Treasure of South Korea. It is basically following the standard type of Silla's Crown. It was excavated by Swedish Crown Pri ...

Crown
would habitually abuse the granting of letters patent for
monopolies A monopoly (from Greek language, Greek el, μόνος, mónos, single, alone, label=none and el, πωλεῖν, pōleîn, to sell, label=none) is as described by Irving Fisher, a market with the "absence of competition", creating a situation whe ...

monopolies
. After public outcry,
King James I of England James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland as James I from the Union of the Crowns, union of the Scottish and ...

King James I of England
(VI of
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
) was forced to revoke all existing monopolies and declare that they were only to be used for "projects of new invention". This was incorporated into the
Statute of Monopolies The Statute of Monopolies 162321 Jac 1 c 3 is an Act of the Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly ...
(1624) in which Parliament restricted the Crown's power explicitly so that the King could only issue letters patent to the inventors or introducers of original inventions for a fixed number of years. The Statute became the foundation for later developments in patent law in England and elsewhere. Important developments in patent law emerged during the 18th century through a slow process of judicial interpretation of the law. During the reign of
Queen Anne Queen Anne often refers to: * Anne, Queen of Great Britain (1665–1714), queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1702–1707) and of Great Britain (1707–1714) **Queen Anne style architecture, an architectural style from her reign, and its revival ...

Queen Anne
, patent applications were required to supply a complete specification of the principles of operation of the invention for public access. Legal battles around the 1796 patent taken out by
James Watt James Watt (; 30 January 1736 (19 January 1736 OS) – 25 August 1819) was a Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European lang ...

James Watt
for his
steam engine from Stott Park Bobbin Mill, Cumbria, England A steam engine is a heat engine In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energ ...

steam engine
, established the principles that patents could be issued for improvements of an already existing machine and that ideas or principles without specific practical application could also legally be patented. The English legal system became the foundation for patent law in countries with a
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
heritage, including the United States,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
and
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
. In the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
, inventors could obtain patents through petition to a given colony's legislature. In 1641,
Samuel Winslow Samuel Ellsworth Winslow (April 11, 1862 – July 11, 1940) was an American politician and Republican Congressman from Massachusetts. Biography Winslow was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. He spent a year at the Williston Seminary in Easthampto ...
was granted the first patent in North America by the
Massachusetts General Court The Massachusetts General Court (formally styled the General Court of Massachusetts) is the state legislature A state legislature is a Legislature, legislative branch or body of a State (country subdivision), political subdivision in a Federali ...
for a new process for making salt. The modern French patent system was created during the
Revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, suc ...

Revolution
in 1791. Patents were granted without examination since inventor's right was considered as a natural one. Patent costs were very high (from 500 to 1,500 francs). Importation patents protected new devices coming from foreign countries. The patent law was revised in 1844patent cost was lowered and importation patents were abolished. The first Patent Act of the
U.S. Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States and consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Wa ...

U.S. Congress
was passed on April 10, 1790, titled "An Act to promote the progress of useful Arts". The first patent under the Act was granted on July 31, 1790 to Samuel Hopkins for a method of producing
potash Potash () includes various mined and manufactured salts In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structu ...
(potassium carbonate). A revised patent law was passed in 1793, and in 1836 a major revision to the patent law was passed. The 1836 law instituted a significantly more rigorous application process, including the establishment of an examination system. Between 1790 and 1836 about ten thousand patents were granted. By the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by other names Other most often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Books * The Other (Tryon novel), ''The Other'' (Tryon nove ...
about 80,000 patents had been granted.


Gender gap in patents

In the US, women were historically precluded from obtaining patents. While section 1 of the
Patent Act of 1790The Patent Act of 1790 () was the first patent statute passed by the federal government of the United States. It was enacted on April 10, 1790, about one year after the constitution was ratified and a new government was organized. The law was concise ...
did refer to "she" married women were unable to own property in their own name and were also prohibited from rights to their own income, including income from anything they invented. This historical gender gap has lessened over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries, however, disparity is still prevalent. In the UK, for example, only 8% of inventors were female as of 2015. This can partly be attributed to historical barriers for women to obtain patents, as well as to the fact that women are underrepresented in traditionally "patent-intensive" sectors, particularly
STEM Stem or STEM may refer to: Biology * Plant stem, the aboveground structures that have vascular tissue and that support leaves and flowers ** Stipe (botany), a stalk that supports some other structure ** Stipe (mycology), the stem supporting the c ...
sectors. Marcowitz-Bitton et al argue that the gender gap in patents is also a result of internal bias within the patent system.


Law


Effects

A patent does not give a right to make or use or sell an invention."A patent is not the grant of a right to make or use or sell. It does not, directly or indirectly, imply any such right. It grants only the right to exclude others. The supposition that a right to make is created by the patent grant is obviously inconsistent with the established distinctions between generic and specific patents, and with the well-known fact that a very considerable portion of the patents granted are in a field covered by a former relatively generic or basic patent, are tributary to such earlier patent, and cannot be practiced unless by license thereunder." – ''Herman v. Youngstown Car Mfg. Co.'', 191 F. 579, 584–85, 112 CCA 185 (6th Cir. 1911) Rather, a patent provides, from a legal standpoint, the
right Rights are legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is desc ...
to ''exclude others'' from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented
invention An invention is a unique or novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. The present English word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the for "new", "news", or ...

invention
for the term of the patent, which is usually 20 years from the filing dateArticle 33 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (
TRIPS The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental ...
).
subject to the payment of maintenance fees. From an economic and practical standpoint however, a patent is better and perhaps more precisely regarded as conferring upon its proprietor "a right to ''try'' to exclude by asserting the patent in court", for many granted patents turn out to be invalid once their proprietors attempt to assert them in court. A patent is a limited property right the government gives inventors in exchange for their agreement to share details of their inventions with the public. Like any other property right, it may be sold, licensed, mortgaged, assigned or transferred, given away, or simply abandoned. A patent, being an exclusionary right, does not necessarily give the patent owner the right to exploit the invention subject to the patent. For example, many inventions are improvements of prior inventions that may still be covered by someone else's patent. If an inventor obtains a patent on improvements to an existing invention which is still under patent, they can only legally use the improved invention if the patent holder of the original invention gives permission, which they may refuse. Some countries have "working provisions" that require the invention be exploited in the jurisdiction it covers. Consequences of not working an invention vary from one country to another, ranging from revocation of the patent rights to the awarding of a
compulsory license A compulsory license provides that the owner of a patent NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a Title (property), title that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited per ...
awarded by the courts to a party wishing to exploit a patented invention. The patentee has the opportunity to challenge the revocation or license, but is usually required to provide evidence that the reasonable requirements of the public have been met by the working of invention.


Challenges

In most jurisdictions, there are ways for third parties to challenge the validity of an allowed or issued patent at the national patent office; these are called
opposition proceeding Opposition may refer to: Arts and media * Opposition (Altars EP), ''Opposition'' (Altars EP), 2011 EP by Christian metalcore band Altars * The Opposition (band), a London post-punk band * ''The Opposition with Jordan Klepper'', a late-night tele ...
s. It is also possible to challenge the validity of a patent in court. In either case, the challenging party tries to prove that the patent should never have been granted. There are several grounds for challenges: the claimed subject matter is not
patentable subject matter Patentable, statutory or patent-eligible subject matter is subject matter which is susceptible of patent NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a Title (property), title that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, us ...
at all; the claimed subject matter was actually not new, or was obvious to the
person skilled in the art A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογικ ...
, at the time the application was filed; or that some kind of fraud was committed during prosecution with regard to listing of inventors, representations about when discoveries were made, etc. Patents can be found to be invalid in whole or in part for any of these reasons.


Infringement

Patent infringement occurs when a third party, without authorization from the patentee, makes, uses, or sells a patented invention. Patents, however, are enforced on a national basis. The making of an item in China, for example, that would infringe a US patent, would not constitute infringement under US patent law unless the item were imported into the US. Infringement includes literal infringement of a patent, meaning they are performing a prohibited act that is protected against by the patent. There is also the Doctrine of Equivalents. This doctrine protects from someone creating a product that is basically, by all rights, the same product that is protected with just a few modifications. In some countries, like the United States, there is liability for another two forms of infringement. One is contributory infringement, which is participating in another’s infringement. This could be a company helping another company to create a patented product or selling the patented product which is created by another company. There is also inducement to infringement, which is when a party induces or assists another party in violating a patent. An example of this would be a company paying another party to create a patented product in order to reduce their competitor’s market share. This is important when it comes to gray market goods, which is when a patent owner sells a product in country A, wherein they have the product patented, then another party buys and sells it, without the owner’s permission, in country B, wherein the owner also has a patent for the product. With either national or regional exhaustion being the law the in country B, the owner may still be able to enforce their patent rights; however, if country B has a policy of international exhaustion, then the patent owner will have no legal grounds for enforcing the patent in country B as it was already sold in a different country.


Enforcement

Patents can generally only be enforced through civil lawsuits (for example, for a US patent, by an action for patent infringement in a United States federal district court), although some countries (such as
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
and
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
) have criminal penalties for wanton infringement. Typically, the patent owner seeks monetary compensation (
damages At common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary ...
) for past infringement, and seeks an
injunction An injunction is a legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment ...
that prohibits the defendant from engaging in future acts of infringement, or seeks either damages or injunction. To prove infringement, the patent owner must establish that the accused infringer practises all the requirements of at least one of the claims of the patent. (In many jurisdictions the scope of the patent may not be limited to what is literally stated in the claims, for example due to the ''
doctrine of equivalents The doctrine of equivalents is a legal rule in many (but not all) of the world's patent systems that allows a court to hold a party liable for patent infringement even though the infringing device or process does not fall within the literal scope ...
''.) An accused infringer has the right to challenge the validity of the patent allegedly being infringed in a
counterclaim In a court of law, a party's claim is a counterclaim if one party asserts claims in response to the claims of another. In other words, if a plaintiff initiates a lawsuit and a defendant responds to the lawsuit with claims of his or her own agains ...
. A patent can be found invalid on grounds described in the relevant patent laws, which vary between countries. Often, the grounds are a subset of requirements for
patentability Within the context of a nation state, national or multilateralism, multilateral body of law, an invention is patentable if it meets the relevant legal conditions to be granted a patent. By extension, patentability also refers to the substantive co ...
in the relevant country. Although an infringer is generally free to rely on any available ground of invalidity (such as a prior publication, for example), some countries have sanctions to prevent the same validity questions being relitigated. An example is the UK
Certificate of contested validityIn United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use B ...
. Patent are
contract A contract is a legally binding agreement that defines and governs the rights and duties between or among its parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview ...

contract
s in which the patent owner (the licensor) agrees to grant the licensee the right to make, use, sell, or import the claimed invention, usually in return for a royalty or other compensation. It is common for companies engaged in complex technical fields to enter into multiple license agreements associated with the production of a single product. Moreover, it is equally common for competitors in such fields to license patents to each other under
cross-licensingA cross-licensing agreement is a contract A contract is a legally binding agreement that defines and governs the rights and duties between or among its parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (188 ...
agreements in order to share the benefits of using each other's patented inventions. Freedom Licenses like the Apache 2.0 License are a hybrid of copyright/trademark/patent license/contract due to the bundling nature of the three intellectual properties in one central license. This can make it difficult to enforce because patent licenses cannot be granted this way under copyright and would have to be considered a contract.


Ownership

In most countries, both natural persons and corporate entities may apply for a patent. In the United States, however, only the inventor(s) may apply for a patent, although it may be assigned to a corporate entity subsequently and inventors may be required to assign inventions to their employers under an employment contract. In most European countries, ownership of an invention may pass from the inventor to their employer by rule of law if the invention was made in the course of the inventor's normal or specifically assigned employment duties, where an invention might reasonably be expected to result from carrying out those duties, or if the inventor had a special obligation to further the interests of the employer's company. Applications by artificial intelligence systems, such as
DABUS DABUS is an artificial intelligence Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit ...
, have been rejected in the US, the UK, and at the European Patent Office on the grounds they are not natural persons. The inventors, their successors or their assignees become the proprietors of the patent when and if it is granted. If a patent is granted to more than one proprietor, the laws of the country in question and any agreement between the proprietors may affect the extent to which each proprietor can exploit the patent. For example, in some countries, each proprietor may freely license or assign their rights in the patent to another person while the law in other countries prohibits such actions without the permission of the other proprietor(s). The ability to assign ownership rights increases the
liquidity Liquidity is a concept in economics involving the convertibility of assets and obligations. It can include: * Market liquidity In business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling ...
of a patent as property. Inventors can obtain patents and then sell them to third parties. The third parties then own the patents and have the same rights to prevent others from exploiting the claimed inventions, as if they had originally made the inventions themselves.


Governing laws

The grant and enforcement of patents are governed by national laws, and also by international treaties, where those treaties have been given effect in national laws. Patents are granted by national or regional patent offices. A given patent is therefore only useful for protecting an invention in the country in which that patent is granted. In other words, patent law is territorial in nature. When a patent application is published, the invention disclosed in the application becomes
prior art Prior art (also known as state of the art or background art) is a concept in patent law used to determine the patentability of an invention, in particular whether an invention meets the Novelty (patent), novelty and the inventive step or non-obvio ...
and enters the
public domain The public domain consists of all the creative work A creative work is a manifestation of creativity, creative effort including Work of art, fine artwork (sculpture, paintings, drawing, Sketch (drawing), sketching, performance art), dance, wr ...

public domain
(if not protected by other patents) in countries where a patent applicant does not seek protection, the application thus generally becoming prior art against anyone (including the applicant) who might seek patent protection for the invention in those countries. Commonly, a nation or a group of nations forms a
patent office A patent office is a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legi ...
with responsibility for operating that nation's patent system, within the relevant patent laws. The patent office generally has responsibility for the grant of patents, with infringement being the remit of national courts. The authority for patent statutes in different countries varies. In the UK, substantive patent law is contained in the Patents Act 1977 as amended. In the United States, the
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

Constitution
empowers
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...

Congress
to make laws to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts ...". The laws Congress passed are codified in
Title 35 of the United States Code Title 35 of the United States Code is a title of United States Code The Code of Laws of the United States of America (variously abbreviated to Code of Laws of the United States, United States Code, U.S. Code, U.S.C., or USC) is the official com ...
and created the
United States Patent and Trademark Office The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce that issues patent A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using ...
. There is a trend towards global harmonization of patent laws, with the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations. Governments use the organization to establish, revise, and enforce the rules that govern international ...
(WTO) being particularly active in this area. The
TRIPS Agreement The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental or ...
has been largely successful in providing a forum for nations to agree on an aligned set of patent laws. Conformity with the TRIPS agreement is a requirement of admission to the WTO and so compliance is seen by many nations as important. This has also led to many developing nations, which may historically have developed different laws to aid their development, enforcing patents laws in line with global practice. Internationally, there are international treaty procedures, such as the procedures under the
European Patent Convention The European Patent Convention (EPC), also known as the Convention on the Grant of European Patents of 5 October 1973, is a multilateral treaty instituting the European Patent Organisation and providing an autonomous legal system according to wh ...
(EPC) onstituting_the_European_Patent_Organisation_(EPOrg).html" ;"title="European_Patent_Organisation.html" ;"title="onstituting the onstituting_the_European_Patent_Organisation_(EPOrg)">European_Patent_Organisation.html"_;"title="onstituting_the_European_Patent_Organisation">onstituting_the_European_Patent_Organisation_(EPOrg)_that_centralize_some_portion_of_the_filing_and_examination_procedure._Similar_arrangements_exist_among_the_member_states_of_African_Regional_Intellectual_Property_Organization.html" ;"title="European Patent Organisation">onstituting the European_Patent_Organisation.html"_;"title="onstituting_the_European_Patent_Organisation">onstituting_the_European_Patent_Organisation_(EPOrg)_that_centralize_some_portion_of_the_filing_and_examination_procedure._Similar_arrangements_exist_among_the_member_states_of_African_Regional_Intellectual_Property_Organization">ARIPO_and_Organisation_Africaine_de_la_Propriété_Intellectuelle.html" ;"title="European Patent Organisation (EPOrg)">European_Patent_Organisation.html" ;"title="onstituting the
onstituting_the_European_Patent_Organisation_(EPOrg)_that_centralize_some_portion_of_the_filing_and_examination_procedure._Similar_arrangements_exist_among_the_member_states_of_African_Regional_Intellectual_Property_Organization">ARIPO_and_Organisation_Africaine_de_la_Propriété_Intellectuelle">OAPI,_the_analogous_treaties_among_African_countries,_and_the_nine_Commonwealth_of_Independent_States.html" "title="European Patent Organisation">onstituting the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg) that centralize some portion of the filing and examination procedure. Similar arrangements exist among the member states of African Regional Intellectual Property Organization">ARIPO and Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle">OAPI, the analogous treaties among African countries, and the nine Commonwealth of Independent States">CIS Cis or cis- may refer to: Places * Cis, Trentino, in Italy * In Poland: ** Cis, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, south-central ** Cis, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, north Math, science and biology * cis (mathematics) is a mathematical not ...
member states that have formed the Eurasian Patent Organization. A key international convention relating to patents is the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, initially signed in 1883. The Paris Convention sets out a range of basic rules relating to patents, and although the convention does not have direct legal effect in all national jurisdictions, the principles of the convention are incorporated into all notable current patent systems. The Paris Convention set a minimum patent protection of 20 years, but the most significant aspect of the convention is the provision of the right to claim priority: filing an application in any one member state of the Paris Convention preserves the right for one year to file in any other member state, and receive the benefit of the original filing date. Another key treaty is the
Patent Cooperation Treaty The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international patent law treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organiza ...

Patent Cooperation Treaty
(PCT), administered by the
World Intellectual Property Organization The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; french: Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations (UN). Pu ...
(WIPO) and covering more than 150 countries. The Patent Cooperation Treaty provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions in each of its contracting states along with giving owners a 30 month priority for applications as opposed to the standard 12 the Paris Convention granted. A patent application filed under the PCT is called an international application, or PCT application. The steps for PCT applications are as follows: 1. Filing the PCT patent application 2. Examination during the international phase 3. Examination during the national phase. Alongside these international agreements for patents there was the Patent Law Treaty (PLT). This treaty standardized the filing date requirements, standardized the application and forms, allows for electronic communication and filing, and avoids unintentional loss of rights, and simplifies patent office procedures. Sometimes, nations grant others, other than the patent owner, permissions to create a patented product based on different situations that align with public policy or public interest. These may include compulsory licenses, scientific research, and in transit in country.


Application and prosecution

Before filing for an application, which must be paid for whether a patent is granted or not, a person will want to ensure that their material is patentable. A big part of this is that patentable material must be ''man-made'', meaning that anything natural cannot be patented. For example, minerals, materials, genes, facts, organisms, and biological processes cannot be patented, ''but'' if someone were to take this and utilize and inventive, non-obvious, step with it to create something man-made, ''that'', the end result, could be patentable. That includes man-made strains of bacteria, as was decided in Diamond v. Chakrabarty. Patentability is also dependent on public policy, if it goes against public policy, it will not be patentable. An example of this is patent a man-modified higher life-form, such as a mouse as seen in Harvard College v. Canada. Additionally, patentable materials must be novel, useful, and a non-obvious inventive step. A patent is requested by filing a written
application Application may refer to: Mathematics and computing * Application software, computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks ** Application layer, an abstraction layer that specifies protocols and interface methods used in a co ...

application
at the relevant patent office. The person or company filing the application is referred to as "the applicant". The applicant may be the inventor or its assignee. The application contains a description of how to make and use the invention that must provide sufficient detail for a person skilled in the art (i.e., the relevant area of technology) to make and use the invention. In some countries there are requirements for providing specific information such as the usefulness of the invention, the best mode of performing the invention known to the inventor, or the technical problem or problems solved by the invention. Drawings illustrating the invention may also be provided. The application also includes one or more claims that define what a patent covers or the "scope of protection". After filing, an application is often referred to as "
patent pending "Patent pending" (sometimes abbreviated by "pat. pend." or "pat. pending") or "patent applied for" are legal designations or expressions that can be used in relation to a product or process once a patent application A patent application is a ...
". While this term does not confer legal protection, and a patent cannot be enforced until granted, it serves to provide warning to potential infringers that if the patent is issued, they may be liable for damages. Once filed, a patent application is "prosecuted". A
patent examinerA patent examiner (or, historically, a patent clerk) is an employee, usually a civil service, civil servant with a scientific or engineering background, working at a patent office. Major employers of patent examiners are the European Patent Organisat ...
reviews the patent application to determine if it meets the
patentability Within the context of a nation state, national or multilateralism, multilateral body of law, an invention is patentable if it meets the relevant legal conditions to be granted a patent. By extension, patentability also refers to the substantive co ...
requirements of that country. If the application does not comply, objections are communicated to the applicant or their patent agent or attorney through an
Office action In the United States, an Office action is a document written by an examiner in a patent NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a Title (property), title that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling ...

Office action
, to which the applicant may respond. The number of Office actions and responses that may occur vary from country to country, but eventually a final rejection is sent by the patent office, or the patent application is granted, which after the payment of additional fees, leads to an issued, enforceable patent. In some jurisdictions, there are opportunities for third parties to bring an
opposition proceeding Opposition may refer to: Arts and media * Opposition (Altars EP), ''Opposition'' (Altars EP), 2011 EP by Christian metalcore band Altars * The Opposition (band), a London post-punk band * ''The Opposition with Jordan Klepper'', a late-night tele ...
between grant and issuance, or post-issuance. Once granted the patent is subject in most countries to
renewal feesMaintenance fees or renewal fees are fees paid to maintain a granted patent in force. Some patent laws require the payment of maintenance fees for pending patent applications. Not all patent laws require the payment of maintenance fees and different ...
to keep the patent in force. These fees are generally payable on a yearly basis. Some countries or regional patent offices (e.g. the
European Patent Office The European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the two organs of the European Patent Organisation The European Patent Organisation (sometimes abbreviated EPOrg in order to distinguish it from the European Patent Office, one of the two organs of the ...
) also require annual renewal fees to be paid for a patent application before it is granted.


Costs

The costs of preparing and filing a patent application, prosecuting it until grant and maintaining the patent vary from one jurisdiction to another, and may also be dependent upon the type and complexity of the invention, and on the type of patent. The European Patent Office estimated in 2005 that the average cost of obtaining a European patent (via a Euro-direct application, i.e. not based on a PCT application) and maintaining the patent for a 10-year term was around €32,000. Since the London Agreement entered into force on May 1, 2008, this estimation is however no longer up-to-date, since fewer translations are required. In the United States, in 2000 the cost of obtaining a patent (
patent prosecution Patent prosecution describes the interaction between applicants and their representatives, and a patent office with regard to a patent NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a Title (property), title that gives its owner the legal right to ...
) was estimated to be from $10,000 to $30,000 per patent. When patent litigation is involved (which in year 1999 happened in about 1,600 cases compared to 153,000 patents issued in the same year), costs increase significantly: although 95% of patent litigation cases are settled out of court, those that reach the courts have legal costs on the order of a million dollars per case, not including associated business costs.


Alternatives

A
defensive publication A defensive publication, or defensive disclosure, is an intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. There are many types of intellectual property, and som ...
is the act of publishing a detailed description of a new invention without patenting it, so as to establish
prior art Prior art (also known as state of the art or background art) is a concept in patent law used to determine the patentability of an invention, in particular whether an invention meets the Novelty (patent), novelty and the inventive step or non-obvio ...
and public identification as the creator/originator of an invention, although a defensive publication can also be anonymous. A defensive publication prevents others from later being able to patent the invention. A
trade secret Trade secrets are a type of intellectual property that comprise formulas, best practice, practices, business process, processes, designs, legal instrument, instruments, patterns, or compilations of information that have inherent economic value be ...
is information that is intentionally kept confidential and that provides a competitive advantage to its possessor. Trade secrets are protected by
non-disclosure agreement #REDIRECT Non-disclosure agreement#REDIRECT Non-disclosure agreement A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA) or secrecy agre ...
and
labour law Labour laws (also known as labor laws or employment laws) are those that mediate the relationship between workers, employing entities, trade union A trade union (or a labor union in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, ...
, each of which prevents information leaks such as breaches of confidentiality and
industrial espionage Industrial espionage, economic espionage, corporate spying or corporate espionage is a form of espionage Espionage or spying is the act of obtaining secret Secrecy is the practice of hiding information Information can be thought ...
. Compared to patents, the advantages of trade secrets are that the value of a trade secret continues until it is made public, whereas a patent is only in force for a specified time, after which others may freely copy the invention; does not require payment of fees to governmental agencies or filing paperwork; has an immediate effect; and does not require any disclosure of information to the public. The key disadvantage of a trade secret is its vulnerability to
reverse engineering Reverse engineering (also known as backwards engineering or back engineering) is a process or method through the application of which one attempts to understand through deductive reasoning Deductive reasoning, also deductive logic, is the process ...

reverse engineering
.


Benefits

Primary incentives embodied in the patent system include incentives to invent in the first place; to disclose the invention once made; to invest the sums necessary to experiment, produce and market the invention; and to
design aroundIn the field of patents, the phrase "to design around" means to invent an alternative to a patented invention that does not infringe the patent's Claim (patent), claims. The phrase can also refer to the invention itself. Design-arounds are consider ...
and improve upon earlier patents.Howard T. Markey (chief judge of the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals and later of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit), ''Special Problems in Patent Cases'', 66 F.R.D. 529, 1975.
Patents provide incentives for economically efficient
research and development Research and development (R&D, R+D), known in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geogra ...
(R&D). A study conducted annually by the
Institute for Prospective Technological Studies The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), located in Seville, Spain, is one of the seven institutes of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), a Directorate-General of the European Commission (EC). Fields of expertise The IPTS provide ...
(IPTS) shows that the 2,000 largest global companies invested more than 430 billion euros in 2008 in their R&D departments. If the investments can be considered as inputs of R&D, real products and patents are the outputs. Based on these groups, a project named Corporate Invention Board, had measured and analyzed the patent portfolios to produce an original picture of their technological profiles. Supporters of patents argue that without patent protection, R&D spending would be significantly less or eliminated altogether, limiting the possibility of technological advances or breakthroughs. Corporations would be much more conservative about the R&D investments they made, as third parties would be free to exploit any developments. The logical consequence of more efficient R&D is a more efficient national economy: An increase in patenting has proven to be linked with an increase of national income. A 2009 study on patent effects in various countries around the world finds, for instance, that a 10% increase in patenting in 1910 led on average to a 9 to 11% higher level of per capita
GDP Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contrasted with the beggar whose legs and arms were amputated, in the left corner">174x174px Money is any ...
in 1960. The positive effects of patenting on national income were found to be particularly strong in the
U.S The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and a ...

U.S
., Switzerland and Sweden. However, patenting is obviously not the only factor influencing GDP growth: among others, schooling also plays a big role. "The patent internalizes the externality by giving the [inventor] a property right over its invention." In accordance with the original definition of the term "patent", patents are intended to facilitate and encourage disclosure of innovations into the
public domain The public domain consists of all the creative work A creative work is a manifestation of creativity, creative effort including Work of art, fine artwork (sculpture, paintings, drawing, Sketch (drawing), sketching, performance art), dance, wr ...

public domain
for the common good. Thus patenting can be viewed as contributing to Open-source hardware, open hardware after an embargo period (usually of 20 years). If Inventor (patent), inventors did not have the legal protection of patents, in many cases, they might prefer or tend to keep their inventions secret (e.g. keep
trade secret Trade secrets are a type of intellectual property that comprise formulas, best practice, practices, business process, processes, designs, legal instrument, instruments, patterns, or compilations of information that have inherent economic value be ...
s). Awarding patents generally makes the details of new technology publicly available, for exploitation by anyone after the patent expires, or for further improvement by other inventors. Furthermore, when a term of patent, patent's term has expired, the public record ensures that the patentee's invention is not lost to humanity. One effect of modern patent usage is that a small-time inventor, who can afford both the patenting process and the defense of the patent, can use the exclusive right status to become a licensor. This allows the inventor to accumulate capital from licensing the invention and may allow innovation to occur because he or she may choose not to manage a manufacturing buildup for the invention. Thus the inventor's time and energy can be spent on pure innovation, allowing others to concentrate on manufacturability. Another effect of modern patent usage is to both enable and incentivize competitors to design around (or to "Design around, invent around" according to R S Praveen Raj) the patented invention. This may promote healthy competition among manufacturers, resulting in gradual improvements of the technology base.


Criticism

Legal scholars, economists, activists, policymakers, industries, and trade organizations have held differing views on patents and engaged in contentious debates on the subject. Critical perspectives emerged in the nineteenth century that were especially based on the principles of free trade.Johns, Adrian: ''Piracy. The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates''. The University of Chicago Press, 2009
Contemporary criticisms have echoed those arguments, claiming that patents block innovation and waste resources (e.g. with patent-related Overhead (business), overheads) that could otherwise be used productively to improve technology. These and other research findings that patents decreased innovation because of the following mechanisms: * Low quality, already known or obvious patents hamper innovation and commercialization. * Blocking the use of fundamental knowledge with patents creates a "tragedy of the anticommons, where future innovations can not take place outside of a single firm in an entire field". * Patents weaken the
public domain The public domain consists of all the creative work A creative work is a manifestation of creativity, creative effort including Work of art, fine artwork (sculpture, paintings, drawing, Sketch (drawing), sketching, performance art), dance, wr ...

public domain
and innovation that comes from it. * Patent thickets, or "an overlapping set of patent rights", in particular slow innovation. * Broad patents prevent companies from commercializing products and hurt innovation. In the worst case, such broad patents are held by non-practicing entities (patent trolls), which do not contribute to innovation. Enforcement by patent trolls of poor quality patents has led to criticism of the patent office as well as the system itself. For example, in 2011, United States business entities incurred $29 billion in direct costs because of patent trolls. Lawsuits brought by "patent assertion companies" made up 61% of all patent cases in 2012, according to the Santa Clara University School of Law. * Patents apply a "one size fits all" model to industries with differing needs,Richard A Posner for The Atlantic. July 12, 2012
Why There Are Too Many Patents in America
that is especially unproductive for the software industry.James Bessen, Bessen, James, and Michael J. Meurer. Patent Failure: How Judges, Bureaucrats, and Lawyers Put Innovators at Risk. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008. 2009 paperback edition, * Rent-seeking by owners of pharmaceutical patents have also been a particular focus of criticism, as the high prices they enable puts life-saving drugs out of reach of many people. Boldrin and Levine conclude "Our preferred policy solution is to abolish patents entirely and to find other legislative instruments, less open to lobbying and rent seeking, to foster innovation when there is clear evidence that laissez-faire undersupplies it." Abolishing patents may be politically challenging in some countries, however, as the primary economic theories supporting patent law hold that inventors and innovators need patents to recoup the costs associated with research, inventing, and commercializing; this reasoning is weakened if the new technologies decrease these costs. A 2016 paper argued for substantial weakening of patents because current technologies (e.g. 3D printing, cloud computing, synthetic biology, etc.) have reduced the cost of innovation.Lucas S. Osborn, Joshua Pearce, Amberlee Haselhuhn. . ''St. John's Law Review''. 89(4), pp.1185-1253 (Winter 2015)Preprint
/ref> Debates over the usefulness of patents for their primary objective are part of a larger discourse on Intellectual property, intellectual property protection, which also reflects differing perspectives on Opposition to copycopyright.


Anti-patent initiatives

* Criticism of patents#Pharmaceutical patents, Patents on expensive medications are often used as examples that can highlight the inadequacy of patent-based mechanisms. One workaround solution that has been applied by South Africa in the past is passing explained domestic law that gives the state the right to import inexpensive generic versions without permission and wait for international regulations and incentive-systems to get upgraded at a later point. * In 2020, multiple initiatives, including by India and South Africa, called for a waiver of TRIPS Agreement, TRIPS vaccine patents for accelerated deployment of COVID-19 vaccines around the world. However, no mechanisms of alternative medical
research and development Research and development (R&D, R+D), known in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geogra ...
incentive-systems or technical details of proposed "sharing" after certain amounts of profit were reported and some argue that, instead of intellectual property rights, manufacturing know-how is the main barrier to expanding capacity. *The Patent Busting Project is an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) initiative challenging patents that the organization claims are illegitimate and suppress innovation or limit online expression. The initiative launched in 2004 and involves two phases: documenting the damage caused by these patents, and submitting challenges to the
United States Patent and Trademark Office The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce that issues patent A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using ...
(USPTO). *Patent critic, Joseph Stiglitz has proposed Prizes as an alternative to patents in order to further advance solutions to global problems such as AIDS. *In 2012, Stack Exchange launched Ask Patents, a forum for crowdsourcing prior art to invalidate patents. * Several authors have argued for developing defensive
prior art Prior art (also known as state of the art or background art) is a concept in patent law used to determine the patentability of an invention, in particular whether an invention meets the Novelty (patent), novelty and the inventive step or non-obvio ...
to prevent patenting based on obviousness using listsA. Chin.Artful prior art and the quality of DNA patents. Ala. L. Rev. 57 (2005): 975. or algorithms. For example, a Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law, has demonstrated a method to protect DNA research, which could apply to other technology. Chin wrote an algorithm to generate 11 million "obvious" nucleotide sequences to count as prior art and his algorithmic approach has already proven effective at anticipating prior art against oligonucleotide composition claims filed since his publication of the list and has been cited by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. patent office a number of times. More recently, Joshua Pearce developed an Open-source model, open-source algorithm for identifying prior art for 3D printing materials to make such materials obvious by patent standards. As the 3-D printing community is already grappling with legal issues, this development was hotly debated in the technical press. Chin made the same algorithm-based obvious argument in DNA probes.Chin, A., 2010. Gene Probes are Unpatentable Printed Matter. Fed. Cir. BJ, 20, p.527. * Google and other technology companies founded the LOT Network in 2014 to combat Patent troll, patent assertion entities by cross-licensing patents, thereby preventing legal action by such entities.


See also

* Outline of patents


References


External links


Directory of Intellectual Property Offices
maintained by
World Intellectual Property Organization The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; french: Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations (UN). Pu ...
(WIPO)
Useful links
maintained by the
European Patent Office The European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the two organs of the European Patent Organisation The European Patent Organisation (sometimes abbreviated EPOrg in order to distinguish it from the European Patent Office, one of the two organs of the ...

OECD Patent statistics
* {{Authority control NPOV disputes from March 2021 Patent law, * Monopoly (economics) Public records Intangible assets