A patent for an industrial invention is a legal title which grants its holder the right to
- exploit the invention while operating under a temporary monopoly (20 years) that
- excludes third parties from deriving any profit from it.
The patent holder is granted a protective status over his/her invention (20 years) in exchange for the public disclosure of the technical data pertaining to it, allowing others to access such information. The granting of a patent is subject to a clear and complete description of the invention.
By offering protection in exchange for disclosure, the patent system allows everyone to make further contributions to technical innovation.
The 20-year time limit on the enforceability of a patent prevents the risk of its monopoly continuing indefinitely.