A patent protects a product or process that is new, inventive, useful and industrially applicable in any technological field.
The two main requirements that an invention has to meet for patent protection are novelty and inventiveness. The novelty requirement is met if an invention is not fully described in any single publicly available publication, which is relevant to its technical field.
Inventiveness is met if the invention cannot be constructed of the disclosure in one or more publicly available publications.
A patent is in fact a unique paper with technical and legal aspects that describe the invention and how to make it and define the scope of monopoly, respectively.
The patent system actually grants exclusive rights to its owner to prevent others from making the invention as defined in the patent without his or her permission. This is provided that the patent contributes to the advancement of technology to the benefit of the general public.
A patent is an intellectual property that grants its owner with exclusive rights for 20 years. Its importance is not just in its monopoly of making and selling the invention, but also as an asset with independent value because of the enormous importance we relate to the knowledge it contains. Such knowledge may be valuable to firms, factories and private people wishing to increase their holdings in intellectual property assets in general and particularly in a particular technological field.