Personal tools

Patents, Patent Law and Treaties

Cornell University_060120A
[Cornell University]

- Overview

A patent is a government grant that gives an inventor the exclusive right to make, use, and sell their invention for a limited period of time. In exchange for this grant, the inventor must disclose the invention to the public in a patent application. 

Granting exclusive rights to inventors is intended to encourage the devotion of time and resources to the development of new and useful discoveries. In exchange for this limited monopoly, immediate disclosure of patent information to the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) is required. Once the term of protection expires, the patented innovation enters the public domain.


Criteria for Obtaining an Invention Patent

The United States Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. §§ 1 et seq., was enacted by Congress under its constitutionally conferred powers to secure for a limited time to inventors the exclusive right to their discoveries. See Article 1, paragraph 8, paragraph 8. 

Patents are not just abstract concepts; they play an invaluable, practical role in everyday life. By rewarding ideas, patents encourage the development of innovations and new technologies in every field.

To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application. To be patentable, an invention must meet the following criteria: 

  • It must involve an inventive step, meaning it would not be obvious to someone with knowledge and experience of the subject.
  • It must be capable of industrial application, meaning it must be able to be made or used in some kind of industry.


- The Most Common Types of Patents

The three most common types of patents are: 

  • Utility patents, which protect the function of a composition, machine, or process.
  • Design patents, which protect the decorative appearance of an item.
  • Plant patents, which protect a new or distinct variety of a plant.


- Patent Law and Treaties

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the global forum for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation. 

Intellectual property (IP) is improving the lives of everyone around the world. Creators and innovators around the world use IP to turn their ideas into assets. These properties create economic and social benefits that improve the lives of people around the world.


- The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations (UN). According to the 1967 Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO was established to promote and protect intellectual property (IP) worldwide through cooperation with countries and international organizations. 

WIPO’s activities include holding forums to discuss and develop international IP rules and policies, providing global services for registering and protecting IP in different countries, resolving cross-border IP disputes, helping to connect IP systems through harmonized standards and infrastructure, and Serves as a universal reference database for intellectual property. 

All IP matters; this includes providing reports and statistics on the status of IP protection or innovation globally and in specific countries. WIPO also works with governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individuals to use intellectual property to promote socio-economic development. 

WIPO administers 26 international treaties covering a wide range of intellectual property issues, from the protection of audiovisual works to the establishment of international patent classifications. It is led by a General Assembly and a Coordination Committee, which jointly formulate policy and serve as the main decision-making body. 

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, WIPO has “External Offices” around the world, including Algiers (Algeria); Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); Beijing (China), Tokyo (Japan); Abuja (Nigeria); Moscow (Russia); and Singapore (Singapore). Unlike most UN organizations, WIPO does not rely heavily on assessed or voluntary contributions from member states; 95% of its budget comes from costs related to global services. 

WIPO currently has 193 member states, including 190 UN member states as well as the Cook Islands, the Holy See and Niue.


[More to come ...]



Document Actions