patent

1 of 3

adjective

pat·​ent
senses 1–3 are
ˈpa-tᵊnt How to pronounce patent (audio)
 chiefly British  ˈpā-;
 sense 4  ˈpā-;
 sense 5  ˈpā-,
ˈpa-;
 senses 6–7  ˈpa-,
ˈpā-,
British usually
ˈpā- How to pronounce patent (audio)
1
a
: open to public inspection
used chiefly in the phrase letters patent
b(1)
: secured by letters patent or by a patent to the exclusive control and possession of a particular individual or party
patent foodstuffs have acquired an ever-increasing importanceFriedel Strauss
(2)
: protected by a patent : made under a patent
patent locks
a patent coffee maker
c
: protected by a trademark or a brand name so as to establish proprietary rights analogous to those conveyed by letters patent or a patent : proprietary
patent drugs
2
: of, relating to, or concerned with the granting of patents especially for inventions
a patent lawyer
patent law
3
: making exclusive or proprietary claims or pretensions
peddled his patent notions in season and out
4
: affording free passage : unobstructed
a patent opening
5
: patulous, spreading
a patent calyx
6
archaic : accessible, exposed
7
: readily visible or intelligible : obvious
his patent sincerity
a patent falsehood
patently adverb

patent

2 of 3

noun

pat·​ent ˈpa-tᵊnt How to pronounce patent (audio)
British also
ˈpā- How to pronounce patent (audio)
1
: an official document conferring a right or privilege : letters patent
2
a
: a writing securing for a term of years the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention
b
: the monopoly or right so granted
c
: a patented invention
3
4
: an instrument making a conveyance of public lands
also : the land so conveyed
5

patent

3 of 3

verb

pat·​ent ˈpa-tᵊnt How to pronounce patent (audio)
British also
ˈpā- How to pronounce patent (audio)
patented; patenting; patents

transitive verb

1
: to obtain or grant a patent right to
2
: to grant a privilege, right, or license to by patent
3
: to obtain or secure by patent
especially : to secure by letters patent exclusive right to make, use, or sell
patentability
ˌpa-tᵊn-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce patent (audio)
 British also  ˌpā-
noun
patentable
ˈpa-tᵊn-tə-bəl How to pronounce patent (audio)
 British also  ˈpā-
adjective
Choose the Right Synonym for patent

evident, manifest, patent, distinct, obvious, apparent, plain, clear mean readily perceived or apprehended.

evident implies presence of visible signs that lead one to a definite conclusion.

an evident fondness for sweets

manifest implies an external display so evident that little or no inference is required.

manifest hostility

patent applies to a cause, effect, or significant feature that is clear and unmistakable once attention has been directed to it.

patent defects

distinct implies such sharpness of outline or definition that no unusual effort to see or hear or comprehend is required.

a distinct refusal

obvious implies such ease in discovering that it often suggests conspicuousness or little need for perspicacity in the observer.

the obvious solution

apparent is very close to evident except that it may imply more conscious exercise of inference.

for no apparent reason

plain suggests lack of intricacy, complexity, or elaboration.

her feelings about him are plain

clear implies an absence of anything that confuses the mind or obscures the pattern.

a clear explanation

Example Sentences

Adjective The company settled a patent dispute last year. the licensing of patent rights They were sued for patent infringement. His explanation turned out to be a patent lie. She acted with patent disregard for the rules. Noun The product is protected by patent. Verb The product was patented by its inventor. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The caveat that Edison filed in 1890 was the latest in a long line of pre-patent applications. Nat Segnit, Harper’s Magazine , 16 Mar. 2022 Tech companies file patent infringement lawsuits all the time — BlackBerry just sued Facebook for patent infringement last week. Kurt Wagner, Recode, 17 Mar. 2018 The researchers gathered data on how many different provisions of patent law each examiner invoked, on the theory that a more effective examiner would invoke more patent law provisions, on average. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, 5 Mar. 2018 Aspiring entrepreneurs will receive help in gaining access to business mentors, prototyping services, legal and patent advice and business plan development. Karen Farkas, cleveland.com, 15 Dec. 2017 While that didn’t result in any new federal law, many states ultimately passed laws limiting how patent demand letters can be used. Joe Mullin, Ars Technica, 9 Oct. 2017
Noun
For those looking for more casual clothes, there were bejeweled long-sleeve T-shirts with graphics that could have been mistaken for brand sponsors, paired with patent pants. Dale Arden Chong, ELLE, 30 Jan. 2023 The wood-frame, Queen Anne style house where African American inventor and patent draftman Lewis Latimer lived gives little hint of the significance of its owner. Rosalind Cummings-yeates, House Beautiful, 30 Jan. 2023 It's called Caution Extreme Lash because just one dip in the tube is enough to get both sets of lashes coated in the wet, patent-black formula. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, 27 Jan. 2023 For starters, Courtney Love and Rita Ora both showed up in similar powder-blue ensembles—even wearing the same patent wedge knee boots. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 26 Jan. 2023 Starting in 2019, the company challenged SharkNinja in court, alleging patent infringements and false advertising. John Wolfson, BostonGlobe.com, 25 Jan. 2023 Related:Jury orders AT&T to pay $166 million in wireless patent dispute Natalie Walters, Business reporter. Dallas News, 25 Jan. 2023 These tools include the government’s power to issue licenses waiving patents so generic competitors can enter the market early in exchange for reasonable compensation to the patent holder. Robert Weissman, CNN, 10 Jan. 2023 Go for a patent pick in an unexpected shape and add a feminine handle. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, 9 Jan. 2023
Verb
An engineer named Chuck Hull pioneered the first 3D printer in 1983, making trinkets out of photopolymer that eventually led him to patent the process a year later. Jennifer Walter, Discover Magazine, 5 Sep. 2019 The issues surrounding Relyvrio's price highlight industry practices that have long been blamed for driving up U.S. health costs: drugmakers can patent new combinations of old ingredients and then charge whatever price the market will bear. Arkansas Online, 19 Dec. 2022 The issues surrounding Relyvrio’s price highlight industry practices that have long been blamed for driving up U.S. health costs: drugmakers can patent new combinations of old ingredients and then charge whatever price the market will bear. Matthew Perrone, Fortune, 18 Dec. 2022 Utterly chilling - some US companies are basically trying to patent the use of scientific evidence to save lives. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 10 Dec. 2011 Encouraging more people to patent their work supports the U.S. economy and overall national competitiveness, especially in fields like A.I. and emerging technologies, Vidal says. Paige Mcglauflin, Fortune, 13 Dec. 2022 And importantly, the researchers published the code online and purposefully did not patent the technology, which allows others to build on and use the work freely. Edward Chen, STAT, 13 July 2022 Grivel couldn’t patent the new designs because mice had eaten the original drawings, but the family company, Grivel, continued to improve upon the design. Andrew Freeman, Outside Online, 21 May 2012 And patent it all Apple did—right down to the slide-to-unlock feature and beveled edges. Nat Watkins, Wired, 15 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'patent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective, Noun, and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin patent-, patens, from present participle of patēre to be open — more at fathom

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1675, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of patent was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near patent

Cite this Entry

“Patent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/patent. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

patent

1 of 3 adjective
pat·​ent
sense 1 is
ˈpat-ᵊnt How to pronounce patent (audio)
sense 2 is
ˈpāt- How to pronounce patent (audio)
ˈpat-
1
a
: protected by a patent
b
: of, relating to, or concerned with patents
a patent lawyer
c
: proprietary entry 2 sense 2
a patent can opener
2
patently adverb

patent

2 of 3 noun
pat·​ent ˈpat-ᵊnt How to pronounce patent (audio)
1
: an official document granting a right or privilege
especially : a writing granting to an inventor for a term of years the only right to make, use, or sell his or her invention
2
: the right granted by a patent

patent

3 of 3 verb
pat·​ent ˈpat-ᵊnt How to pronounce patent (audio)
: to protect by patent
patentable adjective

Medical Definition

patent

adjective
pa·​tent
ˈpat-ᵊnt, British usually ˈpāt-
1
: protected by a trademark or a trade name so as to establish proprietary rights analogous to those conveyed by a patent : proprietary
patent drugs
2
ˈpāt-
: affording free passage : being open and unobstructed
the nose patent with no pathological dischargeJournal of the American Medical Association

Legal Definition

patent

1 of 3 adjective
1
a
: open to public inspection see also letters patent at letter sense 2
b
: secured or protected by a patent
a nonexclusive patent license to produce and sell the product
sought to enforce her patent rights against infringement
2
: of, relating to, or concerned with the granting of patents especially for inventions
a patent lawyer
involved in patent litigation
3
: readily seen, discovered, or understood
a patent defect
if no bad faith or abuse is patent
compare latent
patently adverb

patent

2 of 3 noun
pat·​ent ˈpat-ᵊnt How to pronounce patent (audio)
1
: an official document conferring a right or privilege : letters patent at letter 2
2
a
: the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention or products made by an invented process that is granted to an inventor and his or her heirs or assigns for a term of years see also intellectual property at property compare copyright, trademark

Note: A patent may be granted for a process, act, or method that is new, useful, and not obvious, for a new use of a known process, machine, or composition of matter or material, as well as for an asexually reproduced distinct and new variety of plant (excluding one propagated from a tuber), and for any new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. Design patents are issued for a term of 14 years. Patents issuing on applications made after June 8, 1995, for basic or plant patents (excluding design patents) are for a term of 20 years from the date of application. An inventor can file a provisional patent application, which requires less documentation and lower fees than a regular application, before reducing the invention to practice. This allows the inventor to claim “patent pending” status for the invention and to establish an earlier filing date and priority of the invention. A regular patent application must be made within a year of the provisional application or it will expire. Patents are considered personal property and may be sold, assigned, or otherwise transferred. Under common law, if a patented invention or discovery is made while the inventor is working for a company, and is made on company time with company facilities and materials, the employer receives an irrevocable, nonassignable, nonexclusive, royalty-free license to use it. Often an employee is required contractually to assign his or her patent to the employer.

b
: the writing securing such a right
received his patent in the mail
c
: a patented invention
all substantial rights to a patentInternal Revenue Code
3
: an instrument making a conveyance of public lands
to issue a patent to each of said Indians for the village or town lot occupied by himU.S. Code
see also fee patent at fee sense 1

patent

3 of 3 transitive verb
pat·​ent
: to obtain or grant a right to (something) by a patent
the land was patented to the railroad
specifically : to protect the rights to (an invention) by a patent
printed matter cannot be patented

History and Etymology for patent

Adjective

Anglo-French, from Latin patent- patens, from present participle of patēre to be open

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