Ever had an idea that you thought was great but never acted on, only to then see someone selling a product using your idea? If you only had a patent, then that person would be paying you for your original thought.

A patent gives an inventor an exclusive right to produce or use the patented invention. In other words, the inventor can prevent others from making or selling their invention without their permission.

In general, anything under the sun can be patented as long as it is new, useful, and meets the USPTO requirements. Here, “new” means not available to the public (including from the inventor) and “useful” means it has a purpose other than landfill.

As many companies and individuals have learned the hard way, a patent is a powerful tool for both preventing competitors from using an idea and monetizing the idea through licensing agreements. Thus, patents are an integral part of a company’s or individual’s Intellectual Property portfolio.

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