A patent is a proprietary right in an invention. It provides the owner with the exclusive right for up to 20 years to make, sell or use a product or process.
In exchange for this monopoly, the patent is published so others can see how the invention works and build on that knowledge. The patented invention is also made available to the public to use once the patent lapses. To be patentable the subject matter of the application must be novel (i.e. new), inventive, and must have utility (i.e. be useful).
For more detailed information click on the headings below or view our information sheets on each page.