A patent provides a legally enforceable right to prevent others from using, selling, importing or making an invention for a period of 20 years.
The invention can be a device, substance, method or process.
A patent can be for any invention that satisfies at least the following requirements:
The invention must be ‘novel’ or new. In other words, the invention must not have been publicly disclosed or used anywhere in the world.
The invention must involve an ‘inventive step’. This means that the invention must not be obvious to a person who is experienced in the same technical field as the invention. An ‘obvious’ invention is one that would be arrived at ‘as a matter of course’ in light of the general body of knowledge known or used by those in the field of the invention.
The invention must be useful or have utility. In other words, the invention must achieve the purpose intended by the applicant/patentee.