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Who Can Apply for and Own a Patent?

The inventor of the patent’s claims can apply for a patent and can optionally assign rights to a business entity. Patents can also be licensed exclusively or non-exclusively to a party in exchange for compensation. Clear identification of the invention’s true inventors is required. If the patent’s inventor is not correctly identified this error can result in the invalidity of a patent issued. A patent may be applied and filed with a sworn declaration identifying the true, actual inventors. However, if the patent claims are amended, the inventorship may also be amended so the patent is granted and identifies the true inventor(s).

What Can Be Patented?

The United States Patent & Trademark Office will confer a patent if the invention described in a patent application claims is novel, and non-obvious and described in a patent application in such a way to permit one to be able make and use the invention. A patent is a bargain will the government to teach the public about a new invention and in exchange for that knowledge, the U.S. Government will give the applicant a limited monopoly to make, use or sell the invention free from competition. Upon the patent term expiration the invention will be dedicated to the public as described in article.

What Cannot Be Patented?

There are several classes of ideas, which are not patentable. For example, music, mathematical formulas and abstract ideas are not patentable. Software can be patented. Literary works, songs, dramas, movie scripts, and artistic works are not patentable, but can be protected under the copyright laws of the United States. Names, logos, slogans and other things which designate the source of the commercial item can be eligible to be registered for trademark protection. Protection for new business methods has been severely restricted in the United States.

How Long Does Patent Protection Last?

Patents are subject to term adjustments, which can change the patent term. Generally, speaking utility patents are granted and last for a term that includes twenty years from the date of filing date, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. If maintenance fees are not paid, the patent will simply expire for failure to pay maintenance fees. Design patents last 14 years from the date the patent is granted. For more information you can refer to

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