A patent is an intellectual property right granted by a Government to an inventor to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the granting country or importing the invention into the granting country for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention.
There are three types of patents in the U.S. Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant. Of course, we are only concerned with the first two.