Meaning of PATENT in English


a government grant of the exclusive right to make, use, or sell an invention, usually for a limited period. Patents are granted to new and useful machines, manufactured products, and industrial processes and to significant improvements of existing ones. Patents are also granted to new chemical compounds, foods, and medicinal products, as well as to the processes for producing them. Patents can even be granted to new plant or animal forms developed through genetic engineering. The first recorded patent for an industrial invention is the one granted in 1421 in Florence to the architect and engineer Filippo Brunelleschi. The patent gave him a three-year monopoly on the manufacture of a barge with hoisting gear used to transport marble. It appears that such privileged grants to inventors spread from Italy to other European nations over the next two centuries. In many cases such grants dealt with the importation and establishment of new industries, as in England at the time of Queen Elizabeth I. It soon became apparent that unlimited duration of exclusive rights created unfair monopolies, and in 1623 Parliament enacted the Statute of Monopolies. Although it prohibited most royal monopolies, it specifically reserved the right to grant letters patent for inventions of new manufactures for up to 14 years. In the United States, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution authorizes Congress to create a national patent system to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts by securing for limited Times to . . . Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective . . . Discoveries. Congress passed the first U.S. Patent Statute in 1790. France enacted its patent system the following year. By the end of the 19th century many countries had patent laws, and today there exist approximately 100 separate jurisdictions regarding patents. In most cases an invention must be considered novel and useful in order to receive a patent. It must also represent a relatively significant advance in the state of the art and can not merely be an obvious change from what is already known. Such stipulations are meant to reduce the number of inventions that modify existing products in minimal ways. Patents are frequently granted for improvements of previously patented articles or processes if the requirements of patentability are otherwise met. A patent is recognized as a species of property and has the attributes of personal property. It may be sold (assigned) to others or mortgaged or may pass to the heirs of a deceased inventor. Because the patent gives the owner the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention, he or she may authorize others to do any of these things by a license and receive royalties or other compensation for the privilege. If any persons make use of a patented invention without authorization, their infringement can be brought to court in a suit filed by the patent holder, who may ask for an amount of money in damages as well as a court injunction to prevent further infringement. The duration of patents varies, ranging from 16 to 20 years in most countries. In some countries, like France, certain types of patents are given shorter terms because the inventions have an overall general usefulness. After the patent term expires, the invention is open to public use. In socialist countries such as the former Soviet Union, where property was treated differently, patents per se were not recognized. Instead, certificates were issued to inventors to ensure that they received some form of compensation for their work. This system, however, served only for a time. For example, China, which modeled its earlier patent system on that of the Soviet Union, enacted a wholly revised patent law in 1985. In many respects it mirrors the patent law of European countries, with the exception that enterprises rather than individuals are the usual grantees of Chinese patent rights. In most countries, patents are granted only after examination of a patent application by trained inspectors, who review prior inventions and patents. Countries vary widely as to the rigour of such examinations. Most countries, in instances of competing claims to an invention, grant the patent to the first to file the application. The United States constitutes the major exception to this rule, granting priority to the party who can prove it was the first actually to invent regardless of time of filing. It does not always follow that a patent holder will market an invention or even license it to someone who wants to. Such a situation might keep a useful invention from being of service to the public. Thus many laws, from the 19th century on, have included various clauses that stipulate compulsory working of an invention. This means that the patentee must manufacture the invention or license it to someone who will. This is also the case when the main patent generates other dependent patents; the main patentee may be legally compelled to grant licenses to those who hold dependent patents. Occasionally, companies holding patents may manage to form monopolies that affect entire fields of commerce. Antitrust suits brought by the government may force such companies to license those patents. In the United States, there is no requirement to work a patent. An issued U.S. patent that has never been turned into a commercial reality remains the property of the inventor (unless assigned by the inventor) and is presumed to be as valid as one that has spawned an entire new industry. With the ever-increasing scope of commerce and international business concerns, there has been a need for bilateral patent agreements between nations. In general, inventors must apply for patents in each country where they wish to manufacture, use, or sell their inventions. International efforts have been made to facilitate this process. The first effort to ease multinational patent differences was the International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, originally adopted in Paris in 1883 and amended several times since. It gave inventors who file an application in one member country the benefit of using that first filing date for applications in other member states. Similarly, the 1970 Patent Cooperation Treaty simplifies the filing of patent applications on the same invention in different countries by providing, among other things, centralized filing procedures and a standardized application format. More recently, the European Patent Convention, implemented in 1977, created a European Patent Office that can issue a European patent, which acquires the status of a national patent in each of the member nations designated by the applicant.

Britannica English vocabulary.      Английский словарь Британика.