A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the owner of the invention in a certain geographical area (country). The right conferred by the patent grant prevents others from benefiting from the invention in the area for which the patent has been granted as the language of the grant itself says "the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling" without the invention's owner permission. A patent does not give the inventor or the owner of the invention the right to practice his or her own invention (Freedom to Operate) if another party owns a patent that "dominates" the invention. Under such circumstances, if the owner wishes to use his patent he would require a license from the owner of the dominating patent.
A patent is given for a certain geographic area and is recognized only in the country in which it is granted or validated for example a US patent are effective only within the United States, US territories, and US possessions.
The term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the first application for the patent was filed subject to the payment of maintenance fees.
Not every invention is patentable. A patent is awarded if the invention is deemed to be new, useful, and not obvious, and if the text describing the invention is detailed enough that a person "skilled in the art" can practice the full scope of its claims without "undue experimentation."
There are three types of patents:
1) 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
2) Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture
3) Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.