Meaning & Implications of Patent Rights

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    Patent Rights

    • According to the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO), a U.S. patent grants the right "to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale or selling the invention within the United States or importing the invention into the United States or its territories."

    Duration

    • A patent lasts generally 20 years from the date the earliest patent application for the invention was filed in the United States.

    Clarification

    • The U.S. does not granting the inventor the right to make, use, offer for sale or sell an invention. Rather, patents give inventors the "right to exclude others," by conferring exclusivity in terms of the right to make, use, offer for sale or sell an invention.

    Limits

    • A patent holder is not authorized to make, use, offer for sale, sell, or import the invention if doing so would violate any law or infringe the prior rights of others.

    Scope

    • The rights are conferred to the inventor or the inventor's assignee and apply only in the United States and territories.

    Maintenance Fees

    • Patent holders must pay maintenance fees at prescribed times to maintain the force of the patent, according to the USPTO. Maintenance fees for new patents are due 3 ½, 7 ½ and 11 ½ years after the original patent grant.

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