Patents: Key Principles These ideas are taken from the pamphlet “What Every Chemist Should Know About Patents,” American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C., 1992 1. A patent is a grant from a government to an inventor giving the inventor the right to exclude others from making, using or selling an invention for a limited time in that country. 2. Different countries have different patent systems, rules, and philosophies. 3. In the U.S. (except for design patents) the limited period of time is 20 years from the date of issue. For design patents, the inventor can seek protection for 14 years from the date of issue. Provisional patents may be filed for much less expense to afford protection while a regular patent application is being prepared. The final patent application must be completed within one year of the provisional patent application; the time limit begins with the date of the provisional patent.
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