What Is A Patent?
At its most basic core, a patent is a monopoly on an invention for a limited amount of time. The invention is defined very specifically in the claims at the end of a patent.
Federal governments are willing to grant this limited monopoly on the invention in exchange for the inventor teaching the public about his or her invention. It is believed that this reciprocal relationship spurs innovation and also contributes to the volume of technology that is available to the public.
However, governments are only willing to grant this limited monopoly on inventions that are both novel and non-obvious. Stated differently, you can only get a patent on an invention if it is new and if it amounts to more than an obvious combination of previous inventions. There are other requirements for obtaining a patent, but those two factors are the most significant.
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