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What is a patent and how do I know if my invention is eligible for a patent?

Answer: 

A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Patent holders have the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention described in the patent deed. The intent of patents is to give the developer of a new product time to recover development expenditures and startup costs without having to fight competition. Eligibility Patents cannot be obtained for inventions that have been publicly disclosed, are in use, or marketed in the United States for one year prior to the filing of the patent application. Secondly, a thorough patent search, preferably done by a professional, must be conducted to make certain that the applicant's idea hasn't already been patented.