Overview of a U.S. PatentA U.S. Patent is the product of the exclusive rights granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to the owner of a new invention or discovery for a period of up to 20 years from the date of application (in most circumstances) in exchange for public disclosure of the invention or discovery as recorded in the USPTO. A strong example of a Patent is a new pharmaceutical drug to recently hit the market.
Statutory Features of a U.S. PatentTo be more technical, U.S. federal protections for Patent rights are derived from the highest authority. As enumerated in Section 8, Clause 8 of Article I of the constitution, Congress has the sole power "[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." This exclusive 'right' grants an inventor a property interest (ownership) in an intangible asset for a limited duration and the ability to exclude others from these exclusive rights.
Furthermore, Title 35 (Patent Act), Section 101 (Inventions Patentable) of the United States Code, specifies that whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a Patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of [the Patent Act]. Moreover, Section 154(a)(1) of the Act grants said inventor or discoverer the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention or process throughout the United States or importing the invention or process into the United States. These exclusive rights, as specified under Section 154(a)(2) of the Act shall begin on the date on which the patent issues and ending on 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States (contingent upon various other factors).