A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem.

A patent provides protection for the invention to the owner of the patent. The protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years.





Examples of Ineffective and Effective Patent Strategies






Russian scientist Alexander Popov invented radio telecommunication and demonstrated it publicly on 7 May 1895 at the meeting of the Russian physics-chemistry scientific society.

Yet, most people believe that it was the Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi who invented radio telecommunication. Why? Because his was the first to apply for the patent. He applied for it in June 1896.






Light Bulb

Since 1840s, around 20 inventors from various countries patented a light bulb.

Thomas Edison, a U.S. scientist, patented his first commercially successful bulb in 1879. Yet, it is Thomas Edison who is usually credited with the invention of the light bulb. Why? Because Thomas Edison bought the patents of other inventors and started experimenting with various types of filaments invented by others to come out with one that would make a lamp practical.






Steam Engine

Russian engineer Ivan Polzunov invented and built a steam engine in 1766. The machine worked well for quite a while. Ivan Polzunov didn't register his invention officially because he died of pneumonia just before his steam engine was launched.

James Watt, a Scottish engineer, launched his steam engine 10 years later, in 1776. Yet, it's him who is widely believed to be the inventor of the steam engine because he did all the paperwork properly.