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A patent is defined by the dictionary as a government authority or license conferring a right, or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention. In other words, it provides the inventor exclusive rights to the patented process, design, or invention for a designated period in exchange for a comprehensive disclosure of the invention. Moreover, patents provide an incentive for companies or individuals to continue developing innovative products or services without the fear of infringement.  In most countries, their rights fall under private law. Therefore the patent holder must sue for any type of plagiarism in order to enforce their rights. Particular species of patents for inventions include biological patents, business method patents, chemical patents and software patents. 

Historically speaking, Patents existed back in 1474. Back then, in Venice, the Republic had to know about new and inventive devices in order to obtain legal protection against 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.

In the UK, companies can register their patent on the Government page. There, founders can search for a patent and get help with the applications, 

Types of patent

In the UK, patents are normally just for inventions. However, sometimes like in many other countries, patents are divided into 3 different groups.

  1. Utility Patent: This is the most common type. Utility patents belong to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful creation. This can be a process, machine or article of manufacture and a composition of matter or improvement. A utility patent lasts for 20 years from the date of filing as long as companies pay maintenance fees
  2. Design Patent: Design patents belong to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design, for an article of manufacture. They protect the design or look of something and should be original and useful. Design patents last for 15 years (for applications filed after May 13, 2015).
  3. Plant Patent: Plant patents belong to anyone who invents or discovers, and asexually reproduces, any distinct and new variety of plant, capable of reproduction. These patents last for 20 years from the date of filing and no maintenance fees apply.

Click and look at EC’s glossary to learn more entrepreneurial words.

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