A patent grants the property rights of an invention to the inventor. Once a patent is issued, it excludes others from making, using, or selling the invention in the United States. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issues three types of patents:
- Utility patents are granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufactured article, compositions of matter, or any new and useful improvement in any of the above.
- Design patents are granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
- Plant patents are granted to anyone who has invented or discovered and asexually reproduced any distinct and new variety of plant.