A Relevant Intellectual Property Rights Law

PATENTS

The primary goal of the U.S. patent system is to advance technological and economic development by stimulating innovation and investment. Patents serve two policy objectives: (1) By requiring disclosure of the manner and process of manufacturing an invention, the system encourages public disclosure of otherwise confidential information so that others are able to utilize it; and (2) by rewarding successful endeavors, patents provide inventors and their patrons with incentives to invest time and resources in research and development (Office of Technology Assessment, 1991).

Rights and Limitations

The protection granted under patent laws is a 17-year "right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention throughout the United States" (35 USC § 154 (Supp. 1982)). In return for that right, the patentee is required to disclose, in detail, the subject matter of the invention. Disclosure not only promotes additional research and development but also discourages unnecessary duplication of research. Disclosure is made in one's application for a patent, which contains a description of the invention and the specific inventive 'claims' that one is seeking to patent. The level of detail disclosed in a patent application must be sufficient to allow one skilled in the art to make and use the invention. The patentee is not



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