Patents are a type of intellectual property that grants the patent holder the exclusive right to produce, use, and sell an invention for a specified period. Patents are meant to protect new and ingenious processes, devices, machines, manufactures, and compositions of materials that are useful, novel, and non-obvious.
Once a patent is granted, the owner has the exclusive right to commercially exploit the invention and can authorize third parties to use it in exchange for monetary compensation. This right also allows the holder to prevent others from making, using, or selling products that infringe his patent.
The protection period of a patent varies by country but is generally 20 years from the filing of the patent application if the corresponding maintenance fees are paid. At the end of this period, the invention enters the public domain, allowing anyone to use it without permission or compensation to the patent holder.