Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary

Patent

A grant by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that allows the patent owner to maintain a monopoly for a limited period of time on the use and development of a new innovation. The USPTO grants three types of patents: utility patents for useful, new, inventions that are not obvious to those in the field; design patents for new and original designs that ornament a manufactured product; and plant patents for new, asexually or sexually reproducible plants.
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