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U.S. Patents and Trademarks

botanical drawing of a red rose, showing flower, leaves and thorns

A patent for an invention, design or plant in the United States is the grant of a property right to the inventor or designer issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Officeexternal link (USPTO). It is the exclusive right for a limited time period to make, use or sell the invention in the United States; it also prohibits others from importing the invention into the United States.

There are three types of patents:

  • 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.

Information about United States patents and answers to many questions about them can be found on these USPTO web pages:

Last Updated: July 21, 2021