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- \

Definition of patent 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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

patent

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

Definition of patent (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : an official document conferring a right or privilege : letters patent

2a : 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

patent

verb
pat·ent | \ˈpa-tᵊnt, British also ˈpā- \
patented; patenting; patents

Definition of patent (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Other Words from patent

Adjective

patently adverb

Verb

patentability \ˌpa-tᵊn-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē, British also ˌpā- \ noun
patentable \ˈpa-tᵊn-tə-bəl, British also ˈpā- \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for patent

Adjective

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

Examples of patent in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Tech companies file patent infringement lawsuits all the time — BlackBerry just sued Facebook for patent infringement last week. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Match Group wants to buy Bumble. Now it’s also suing Bumble.," 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, "Why the roots of patent trolling may be in the patent office," 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, "Cleveland State University receives $1 million gift for entrepreneurship lab," 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, "New bill would end Native American “sovereign immunity” for patents," 9 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sindone said in Western countries, including the U.S., an individual invents something and gets a patent for that invention, which usually protects the inventor for a certain number of years. Karen Caffarini, Post-Tribune, "As tariffs begin, Northwest Indiana auto workers and farmers share concerns," 10 July 2018 In the meantime, Frenzel has won an award from The German Society for Mechatronics, and has registered for a patent on his design in the lead up to a potential Kickstarter campaign in the coming months. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "This Might Be the Most Practical Phone-Saving 'Airbag' Design Yet," 28 June 2018 Governments are providing subsidies, fast-tracking approvals and extending patent protection. Ari Altstedter, Bloomberg.com, "The Startups Waging War Against Superbugs," 25 June 2018 Injinji has a patent on its popular five-toe sock design. Julie Brown, Outside Online, "The Best Running Socks, According to Ultramarathoners," 22 June 2018 Disabled people were using drinking tubes in the mid-19th century, as attested to by a patent from 1870. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "Disposable America," 21 June 2018 The biopharma companies also feel the pressure, as major drugs lose patent protection and the disease challenges get harder. Bradley J. Fikes, sandiegouniontribune.com, "From cancer to genetic diseases, San Diego's march of drugs progresses," 10 June 2018 The same could become true for Estrace cream, which lost its patent protection at the end of last year and now has several generic competitors. Katie Thomas, New York Times, "Prices Keep Rising for Drugs Treating Painful Sex in Women," 3 June 2018 Public quality standards play an important role in facilitating the entry of multiple generics into the market once a product’s patent protection expires. Michael Eisenstein, Scientific American, "The Little-known History and Global Future of Quality Medicines," 31 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Airbus has patented such a helmet, which creates an immersive environment for watching 3D movies, playing video games or simply relaxing. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian, "Seven Airplane Innovations That Could Change How We Travel," 30 May 2018 America's largest retailer has patented surveillance technology that could essentially spy on cashiers and customers by collecting audio data in stores. Jason Silverstein, CBS News, "Walmart patents audio surveillance technology to record customers and employees," 13 July 2018 The case isn’t being sold commercially, but Frenzel has patented the technology. Emily Price, Fortune, "This iPhone Case is an 'Air Bag' For Your iPhone," 29 June 2018 Alkaline hydrolysis was patented in the US in 1888, and the process hasn’t changed much since then. Emily Atkin, WIRED, "The Powerful Groups Stonewalling a Greener Way to Die," 17 June 2018 First patented in 2007, their newest product looks like any other regular tube but is actually more advanced. Shannon Barbour, The Cut, "Chanel Created 3-D-Printed Mascara," 11 June 2018 First developed in 1795 and patented in 1801 by Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, the tourbillon is a type of escapement. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "This Complex 3D Printed Watch Has 70 Moving Parts," 11 May 2018 The old-fashioned bulbs, which look like the inefficient incandescent technology patented by Thomas Edison in 1878, could encourage people to change their lightbulbs more than once a decade, even as the world moves to greener lamps. Jess Shankleman, Bloomberg.com, "How Many Hipsters Does It Take to Change the Lightbulb?," 8 Jan. 2018 In the past, cases about patenting genes have reached the highest courts. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "Nearly Half the Patents on Marine Genes Belong to Just One Company," 13 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of patent

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

History and Etymology for patent

Adjective

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

Noun

see patent entry 1

Verb

see patent entry 1

Adjective

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

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Learn More about patent

Phrases Related to patent

take out a patent on

Statistics for patent

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Time Traveler for patent

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

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More Definitions for patent

patent

noun

Financial Definition of 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.

Source: Investing Answers

patent

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of patent

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: of, relating to, or concerned with patents

: obvious or clear

patent

noun

English Language Learners Definition of patent (Entry 2 of 3)

: 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

English Language Learners Definition of patent (Entry 3 of 3)

: to get a patent for (something)

patent

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

Kids Definition of patent

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : obvious, evident a patent lie

2 : relating to or concerned with patents patent law

patent

noun
pat·ent | \ˈpa-tᵊnt \

Kids Definition of patent (Entry 2 of 3)

: 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

patent

verb
pat·ent | \ˈpa-tᵊnt \
patented; patenting

Kids Definition of patent (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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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 dischargeJournal of the American Medical Association

patent

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

Legal Definition of patent 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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

Other Words from patent

patently adverb

patent

noun
pat·ent | \ˈpat-ᵊnt \

Legal Definition of patent (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : an official document conferring a right or privilege : letters patent at letter 2

2a : 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

pat·ent

Legal Definition of patent (Entry 3 of 3)

: 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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