1

patent

adjective pat·ent \ senses 1–3 are ˈpa-tᵊnt , chiefly British ˈpā- ; sense 4 ˈpā- ; sense 5 ˈpā- , ˈpa- ; senses 6–7 ˈpa- , ˈpā- , British usually ˈpā- \
Updated on: 10 Nov 2017

Definition of patent

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 importance
  • —Friedel 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

Examples of patent in a Sentence

  1. The company settled a patent dispute last year.

  2. the licensing of patent rights

  3. They were sued for patent infringement.

  4. His explanation turned out to be a patent lie.

  5. She acted with patent disregard for the rules.

Recent Examples of patent from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of patent

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

2

patent

noun pat·ent \ ˈpa-tᵊnt , British also ˈpā- \

Definition of patent

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
4 :an instrument making a conveyance of public lands; also :the land so conveyed

Examples of patent in a Sentence

  1. The product is protected by patent.

Recent Examples of patent from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of patent


3

patent

verb pat·ent \ ˈpa-tᵊnt , British also ˈpā- \

Definition of patent

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

play \ˌpa-tᵊn-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē, British also ˌpā-\ noun

patentable

play \ˈpa-tᵊn-tə-bəl, British also ˈpā-\ adjective

Examples of patent in a Sentence

  1. The product was patented by its inventor.

Recent Examples of patent from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of patent


Financial Definition of PATENT

patent

What It Is

A patent is a grant of property rights to an invention. In the United States, this is done through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

How It Works

A patent prevents others from using, making or selling a specific invention within the U.S. Use of the term "patent pending" or "patent applied for" is intended to inform the general public that the inventor has filed a patent application on the item, but these terms do not protect the inventor until a patent is actually granted. Only the inventor of the invention can apply for a patent, although there are exceptions.

There are three types of patents: utility patents, plant patents, and design patents. Anyone who invents or discovers a "new and useful" process, article of manufacture, composition of matter, machine, or improvement upon these things may be eligible for a utility patent. Plant patents are awarded to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces a "distinct and new variety of plant." Design patents generally go to anyone who invents a "new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture." Inventions related to the use of "special nuclear material or atomic energy in an atomic weapon" are not eligible for patents. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will also not patent "laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas," nor is a "mere idea or suggestion" eligible. Prior foreign use or existing domestic use of an invention also influence whether an invention is eligible for patent.

To apply for a patent, the inventor must first file either a provisional or non-provisional application for a patent, which includes a description and drawing of the invention. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office then provides the inventor with an application number and official filing date. After 18 months, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office publishes the patent application, and the general public may protest or request access to the entire application file. The application is sent to a patent examiner who specializes in the invention's area of technology, and the examiner evaluates the invention and application for compliance with patent guidelines. The examiner may accept or reject the application, and the applicant may appeal a rejection. If a patent is granted, the manufacturer or seller of the patented article must mark the articles with the patent number.

Why It Matters

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution allows Congress to enact patent laws. Patent laws were most recently revised on November 29, 1999, with the passage of the American Inventors Protection Act.

Inventors may allow others to manufacture or sell their patented inventions in exchange for money. American law allows inventors to enforce their patents by bringing patent infringement lawsuits in federal court against anyone who uses the patented invention without permission.

Patents expire. In the United States, a utility patent issued on or after June 8, 1995, expires on the later of either 17 years from the grant date or 20 years from the first effective filing date. Design patents expire 14 years from the patent grant date. A patent may also expire if the owner fails to pay required maintenance fees, which may occur if the owner is unable to commercially exploit the invention. Sometimes, a court invalidates patents for various reasons. When a patent expires or is invalidated, the related invention could fall into the public domain and may be used or exploited without the inventor's permission.



PATENT Defined for English Language Learners

patent

adjective

Definition of patent for English Language Learners

  • : of, relating to, or concerned with patents

  • : obvious or clear


patent

noun

Definition of patent for English Language Learners

  • : an official document that gives a person or company the right to be the only one that makes or sells a product for a certain period of time


patent

verb

Definition of patent for English Language Learners

  • : to get a patent for (something)


PATENT Defined for Kids

1

patent

adjective pat·ent \ for 1 ˈpa-tᵊnt or ˈpā- , for 2 ˈpa- \

Definition of patent for Students

1 :obvious, evident
  • a patent lie
2 :relating to or concerned with patents
  • patent law

2

patent

noun pat·ent \ ˈpa-tᵊnt \

Definition of patent for Students

:a document that gives the inventor of something the right to be the only one to make or sell the invention for a certain number of years

3

patent

verb pat·ent \ ˈpa-tᵊnt \

Definition of patent for Students

patented; patenting
:to obtain the legal right to be the only one to make or sell an invention

Medical Dictionary

patent

adjective pa·tent \ ˈpat-ᵊnt, British usually ˈpāt- \

medical Definition of patent

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 discharge
  • Journal of the American Medical Association

Law Dictionary

1

patent

adjective pat·ent \ ˈpat-ᵊnt, 3 also ˈpāt- \

legal Definition of patent

1 a :open to public inspection — see also letters patent at letter 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

Origin and Etymology of patent

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


2

patent

noun pat·ent \ ˈpat-ᵊnt \

legal Definition of patent

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 patent
  • Internal 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 him
  • U.S. Code
— see also fee patent at fee 1

3

patent

transitive verb pat·ent

legal Definition of patent

: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


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