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Patents

Introduction

A patent is the protection afforded by the law to ideas. The protection of intellectual property is founded upon the need to balance among the inventor's right to his or her invention, the desire of the human society to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, and society's need to use the invention for the common good. The inventor chooses to accept the protection of the law, and in consideration therefore is prepared to publish the details of his or her invention and to allow the public to use it once the patent expires.

Most patents are sought in order to prevent competitors from using the invention, or as protection in cases of legal action (as a means of filing a counterclaim). However, the registration of patents serves also as an instrument for generating revenues from intellectual property—by selling, leasing, or licensing it. Obtaining patents is significant also for raising capital, and startups often emphasize to investors that a patent application protecting their invention has been filed, that a patent protecting their invention is pending, and/or that a patent protecting their invention has been granted.


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