Patents: How to Read a Patent Document
How to Read a Patent Document
A patent is a right granted by a government that allows an inventor to prevent others from making, using, selling or importing the patent owner's invention for a limited time. Patent rights are enforceable only in the country in which they are granted.
In Canada and the U.S., the term of a patent is twenty years from the date of application. The patent application process can take several years depending on the complexity of the invention. Patents cannot be renewed. When a patent expires the invention goes into the public domain where anyone is free to make, use, sell or import it.
Patents are granted for new and useful inventions, including products, machines, compositions of matter, processes or improvements on any of these. You can not patent a scientific principle, abstract idea, method of doing business, or written or artistic work. Some countries, including Canada, do not grant patents for medical therapies, computer software or genetically modified animals and plants.
Last Updated: 24 July 2008