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What is a patent?

A patent is a right which protects new inventions covering how they're made, what they're made of, what they do and how they do it. It also prevents others from using or making the invention without prior permission.

Patents allow the inventor of a product, process or material to benefit from their investment into its invention. A patent may be renewed for a maximum of 20 years.

In order to apply for registration of a patent in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the patent must be first registered in an approved overseas jurisdiction (see 'How do I register a patent in Guernsey' for more information).

How are patents used?

As granted, a patent provides the right to stop others from copying, selling, making or importing an invention without the permission of the proprietor. The patent owner may choose to assign, license or franchise out the invention to third parties.

Patents (protection of an invention) are often used alongside other IP including Trade Marks (brand protection), Design Rights (design protection) and Copyright (for marketing information) to provide a portfolio of IP rights which maximise the benefit from the investment in the invention.