Patent protection for inventions

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Patent protection is a type of intellectual property.

The aim of the patent regime is to provide protection by a system of registration that grants a limited-term monopoly for inventions; to provide the owner with an exclusive right to commercially exploit the invention for a period of up to 20 years, and provide protection against copying and independent creation.  The underlying rationale is that providing such protection encourages innovation and economic growth, in exchange for full disclosure of the invention and the best method of using it; for free use by the public after the patent term ends. In that regard, the system provides a balance between the interests of society and the interests of innovators.  The regime is derived from 15th century England as well as international treaties to which New Zealand is a party.  The Patents Act 1953 is out dated and is currently going through a much needed reform process.

To be patentable, an invention must be new or novel, contain an inventive step that is not already known, and be useful.  For example, a new product or a new process of manufacturing or an improvement to an existing product or process.

Don’t tell anyone about your invention until you have protected it.

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